This week my Facebook feed is full of political posts about how if I vote a certain way then certain things will definitely happen – money for schools, better healthcare trusts - you name it, there is a manifesto pledge for it, somewhere. I always feel hopeful the week before an election as more people than usual seem interested in building a better world and engaging in our political systems to achieve it.
Then election day comes and everyone posts ‘I VOTED’; they count the votes, and my vote doesn’t win. Sometimes the local candidate I chose becomes a councillor or MP, but by and large the people I have backed have not become the people with power.
This is disappointing; it is really easy to get angry about the result, or feel like the whole thing was a waste of time. But if the same happens to you this week, please do not disengage. The world needs people like you who believe a fair and generous future is possible; and if you decide that it’s not worth it, we lose your voice from the conversation. Do something with all the energy created by those feelings.
What are my options:
1. Be the change! (Phil 3:20-21) – When I’m frustrated or angry I find that I just want to do something! Pour that energy into something constructive, volunteer at a foodbank, become a blood donor, offer your skills to a local charity. And not just this week, become a regular. Sometimes creating change happens so slowly we don’t even see it, but you are having an impact.
2. Go local! (Jer 29:7) – Is there a residents association where you live? Does someone need to tell the local authorities about the pot-holes on your street? Be that person who stands up for your local community on issues of local governance.
3. Join a party! (Dan 2: 21) – any colour you like – they all need more Christians helping them to create Kingdom policies. It is not expensive to join, and they do particularly good rates for students and young people. The red, blue and yellow team also have Christian groups to help you pray for your party and the nation – see Christians in Politics for details.
4. Pray! (1 Tim 2) – However you feel, angry or elated, disappointed or fearful tell God how you feel; and ask Him to use you to make earth more like heaven. Continue to pray for your councillors, MP and the Prime Minister (whether you voted for them or not) that they may be wise in their decisions.
Remember that above everything else our primary citizenship is to the Kingdom of God (Galatians 3) – work with those on ‘opposing’ sides to see more of the Kingdom on earth. You could join a group or maybe even start one with Christians in Politics, the SPEAK Network, or SCM.
Finally, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15).
Bec Wilkinson lives and works in Manchester; helping churches house the homeless across the UK. Bec enjoys cups of tea, travelling, reading good books and learning to play roller derby. Find more of her writing on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @Bec_Wilkinson88.