So the 2019 National and Local Elections had come to pass. The ballots have been counted locally except for a few provinces while at the national level the canvassing is not yet over. Some issues, which are legitimate, have casted doubts over the overall results of the elections.
The post-election atmosphere is even more bitter and divisive than during the campaign period.
But as Christians, how should we react to the election results?
The following is my initial list of responses every Christian should take.
We all know elections are nasty and divisive. Political candidates appeal to the basest of our instincts with their strategies and tactics to put every opponent in a very bad light. Supporters argue in every imaginable avenue: fora, radio, TV, or online.
In the middle of this chaos, we should not get lost. In a way, let us remain thankful for all these only prove that our representative democracy is alive despite its imperfections. At the end of the day, we should be thankful to live in a country where our leaders are put by reason and by our votes. Other peoples in other countries don’t have this privilege.
The bitter partisanship we experienced was an indication that we are a free people. People in other countries do not have this freedom to vote. Thus let us be careful that as we try to hold the government accountable we will not slide into bitter tribal partisanship so as to preserve our Christian witness.
If your candidates had won, make your celebrations be made out of humility instead of pride. Be mindful that elections come and go. The rest of the days of the year you have to contend the fact that, in some cases, the leader you have helped put in power can fail you. Let us be conservative in our expectations on our chosen leaders to avoid disappointment.
For the winners, be gracious. Be mindful that those who have lost the contest are still licking their wounds and their supporters are despairing over the loss.
Our political leaders, no matter how good they maybe, can never usher in the coming of our King. It is good to be reminded that our hope is not in the temporal government but in the Kingdom governed by God.
When your preferred candidates lose, you may mourn. It is indeed heartbreaking to see good leaders lose in the elections but do not lose hope.
Our electoral system is not perfect. At times, this system is abused by those who seek dominance and power. This is true with what is going on: unexplained technical glitches, and allegations of electoral fraud down to the precinct level.
Looking at the results of the elections, you might be tempted to say “the Philippines is finished.” Few years from now you will look back to this day and realize that the world did not end when your candidates did not make it to the ballot box.
Elections are important but they are not everything. Be reminded as Christians our faith is not in the candidates or party we prefer. Our faith is in Christ. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe, despair not because He is in control. He has conquered the grave, there’s no reason why He cannot change our circumstance.
Uncertainty lies beyond us after the elections. We don’t know what will happen to our communities under leaders whose elections are fraught with allegations of fraud. But all is not lost because we are not ignorant of our duties and responsibilities as followers of Jesus Christ.
Don’t sulk. Pray. Paul exhorts the young Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:2 to pray for all of those in power. Let us pray as much as we post in social media.
When praying, pray not only those whom you wanted to pray for. Pray for all those who have voted into public office that they may be used by God to fulfill His will on earth as it is in heaven. Let us pray for them as much as we scrutinize them and hold them accountable of all their actions.
The Scripture teaches us that no one assumes leadership by accident. The Book of Romans, in Chapter 13, tells us that God allows in power those whom He allows. Don’t forget that God is in control and He can shape the hearts of rulers no matter how evil we perceived them to be (Proverbs 21:1).
As we perform our social duties and responsibilities as citizens of this country, let us remember that we are pilgrims of this world – we are strangers because Heaven is our home. The Scripture tells us that one day we will live in a more perfect city, a city whose “builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). And this is our blessed hope.
Rev. Antonio Manaytay. He leads a small congregation in his hometown, Ipil, Philippines.