“I’m not going to vote,” a young college student proudly announced to me, out of the blue. “We can’t change anybody by changing the laws. So why bother?”
I’m no expert on the Millennial generation, but I have read about some of the characteristics that are generally true of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s: the youngest category eligible to vote today. Usually those lists highlight how savvy they are with technology and social media.
But on a deeper level, this generation is disillusioned. They are tired of fighting. They’ve witnessed their parents fight. Congress fight. The world fight. They want it to stop. They want everyone to get along.
It’s interesting that Millennials are also touted as the most civic-minded and globally-aware. And yet many don’t want to vote. My friend is not alone.
I apologized to my young friend, someone who loves God and seeks to follow Christ with her whole heart. It was my generation of Baby Boomers who are responsible for so many of her age group being disillusioned. My generation, so caught up in causes and changing the world that families were sometimes sacrificed. I told her I’m much more interested in Jesus than I am politics. But this is how I responded.
We vote because we’re called to use our voice to stand for righteousness. Of course, it’s not our place to stand in judgment and hatred of sinners. We’re all sinners deeply loved by God. What we do is stand against sin – sin which grieves the heart of our holy God – to join like-minded others to help stem its spread. We use the consciences God gave each of us to decide what our part should be in that as we seek “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
We are not only to be the light of the world, pointing the way to Jesus, but we’re also the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt does more than give flavor to food; it’s a preservative. As Christ-followers, we can help slow the decay of our world. We vote to help preserve our country and our world.
We vote because we can’t take our freedom, fleeting though it may be, for granted. I’ve seen the joy of people, finally able to vote after decades of having their voices snuffed out. (At this point, I surprised myself by getting choked up.) I know people who’ve risked their lives or are risking their lives, many having given their lives in the ultimate sacrifice, so we would have this freedom. We need to say “thank you” to them by using our freedom to vote our conscience.
When I moved back to the States, I landed in Florida at the time of the Presidential election where votes in that state were counted and re-counted and re-re-counted. I hadn’t registered to vote in time. I learned that each vote really does matter and I promised that I wouldn’t let another election slip by without registering mine.
Yes, our world needs much more than a political solution. We need revival. Revival starts with one person’s heart being fully yielded to God. One person’s heart can be regenerated anywhere – in a totalitarian state or a prison camp. When the fire catches and spreads to other changed lives, society can be changed at its core. It’s happened before, and it can happen again.
I wish it was so easy that we could vote for revival, but we can’t. Voting is merely one person expressing what their heart and conscience tells them is the best way. It’s not something we have to do. But we can do it, and that’s why it’s significant and not to be taken lightly.