Over the next week, all Christians who are registered to vote in the United States would do well to keep in mind this nugget of wisdom from John Wesley that has been making the rounds on the Internet:
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.
A lot of quotes attributed to Wesley don’t actually originate with the 18th-century Anglican preacher and founder of Methodism. But this one does. Wesley wrote it in his journal on October 6, 1774 in reference to the British Parliamentary elections held in the fall of that year.
(Prime Minister Lord Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, and his party defeated the Whigs and Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, rather handily in 1774.)
With Wesley’s quote in mind, here are a few ways you can prepare for the November 6 election:
- Spend time in prayer, not only reflecting on whom you should vote for but also asking God to guide your words, attitudes, and actions toward those with whom you disagree.
- Reflect on the candidates you will be voting for. Are these candidates “most worthy”? If so, why? How has your faith informed your decisions?
- Think about the candidates you won’t be voting for. Reflect on these candidates’ good qualities and reasons why other people consider them “most worthy.” Don’t assume the worst about opposing candidates and their supporters.
- Resist any urges to write nasty, anonymous comments about opposing candidates on the Internet. And, if your candidate loses, don’t write ridiculous things like “This is the end of America as we know it” or accuse the winning party of cheating.
- Pray for the well-being of the nation and the world, regardless of which candidates emerge victorious on November 6 (or after long, painful recounts).
- Remember that your president, governor, senator, congressperson, state representatives, etc. represent you, regardless of whether you voted for them. Let these people know what issues matter to you and why. Work with these elected officials for the benefit of all people, and particularly those whom Jesus called the “least of these.”
Josh Tinley is a curriculum editor for Abingdon Press and the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports.