Just Vote Your Conscience
Just vote your conscience. Sounds simple enough . . . until you realize that your conscience is poles apart from your friend’s conscience. Perhaps “the Romans 14 principle” will help!
Of course, the issues were different. Paul was dealing with food; we’re entering the voting booth. Yet Romans 14 offers a principle: in “matters of conscience” we must not: 1) judge or condemn people who hold convictions that are different from our own; 2) shame or pressure people to go against their own conscience; 3) go against our own conscience to accommodate people who disagree with us. Why?
“The conscience is a delicate instrument that must be respected,” says RC Sproul. “One who seeks to influence the consciences of others carries a heavy responsibility to maintain the integrity of the other person’s own personality as crafted by God. When we impose false guilt on others, we paralyze our neighbors, binding them in chains where God has left them free.”
Romans 14 is not Paul’s gag order. Love never silences discussions or hides differences. Perhaps we can consider placing Romans 14 under the “hermeneutic of redemptive movement” which acknowledges that God meets us “where we are” (in our mess) and from there gently moves us, step-by-step, by his grace, toward his kingdom ways (thank you Jesus!). Yes, love is patient and kind. We all require much grace.
As we head into what will likely be one of the most stressful political weeks of our lives, will you take “the Romans 14 challenge” with me? Decide now to encourage everyone to exercise their liberty to vote or not to vote—and respect the delicate instrument that God has crafted within them.
May God be merciful to our nation—and give us a “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).
Gloria Wiese, Minister for Discipleship