October 24 – Our Elections: Candidate Qualities

Discerning Among Candidates: What Do You Look For? 

Vital Sign Religious Freedom

Each election season, the League of Women Voters publishes voter guides to help decision-makers look at some of the issues.  The League is a political grassroots network and membership organization that believes the freedom to vote is a nonpartisan issue. As their website says, “For more than a century, we’ve worked to empower voters to defend democracy.” 

In “how to judge a candidate,” the League offers seven suggestions: Determine what you are looking for in a candidate, their positions on issues, and the leadership qualities they possess. You may be able to learn about the candidates on your ballot with the aid of a voter guide published by your local election officials. They suggest you gather material about the candidates—your mailbox may be flooded with political flyers. Then, evaluate the candidates’ positions on the issues and learn what you can about their leadership qualities. The sixth step is to learn how other people view the candidates but not substitute their judgment for your own. Finally, make your selection. 

Are there other or different measures for people of faith to use in evaluating a candidate? Christian Citizen’s blog suggests there are nine measures to use, and they are taken from Galatians 5:22-23, where the apostle Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

While measuring some of these qualities can pose a challenge, many are not difficult to spot. The Christian Citizen concludes, “Religion and politics can be hot topics of dissension. And yet, as people of faith, it is important to us to consider the inner nature of the women and men we choose as leaders. And so, while we should not hold candidates to a litmus test of faith that is identical to ours, we are indebted to the Apostle Paul for giving us nine words to consider as we evaluate the inner light, character, and spiritual health of those who would lead.” 

In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy life bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” 

How then should we pray? 

  • For election officials at the state, county, city, and precinct levels to conduct transparent and above-board ballot handling and tallying.
  • For candidates for federal, state, and local offices to be honest about their platforms and agendas.
  • For discernment for voters to investigate the candidates as they assess their priorities.
  • That the Lord would give you wisdom as you evaluate the qualities of the candidates on your ballot.
  • That candidates who claim to know Christ will reflect His character and truth as they campaign.

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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