I was interviewed by a reporter last week who asked my thoughts on how Christians should vote in the upcoming federal election. I think it's a great question and one that I'm glad he asked. The financial crisis in the USA combined with their election in November means that our election is even more important than usual.
There are several characteristics that I think need to be considered before casting our ballot. The first is the integrity of the candidate. Integrity speaks of wholeness and internal strength. It's actually an construction term that describes the ability of the structure to withstand the pressure it will be exposed to.
If I've learned anything in the last year, it's that politicians live with incredible pressure and demands. There are certainly the political expectations that come along with the job, but there are also demands that come from family, constituents, schedules and their leaders and colleagues. Politics is a challenging and difficult environment and succeeding requires an extra measure of integrity.
The challenge with integrity is that you can't measure it during the election campaign. You might hear a lot about it, but integrity can only be measured through an examination of the candidates track record over time. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking as you prepare to vote? If you don't know, ask someone who does, or better yet, ask the candidate themselves? You might be surprised at their response.
1. How have they conducted themselves?
2. Have they demonstrated stability and strength over the long haul?
3. How have they handled difficult situations in the past?
4. When they have made mistakes, how have they responded?
5. Has adversity caused them to crumble or to be renewed?
6. What lessons have they learned through hardship and how does that understanding affect their world view?
Next time, we'll talk about wisdom.