For pretty obvious reasons, this election season leaves many of us asking tough questions about the next president. Both major-party candidates represent some qualities and policies that simply run contrary to widely held Christian teaching.
Some polls even suggest up to two-thirds of Americans think neither candidate represents them. In this basically unprecedented election, one of the most important questions for Christians is, “How do the Scriptures inform how we’ll vote?”
In a recent conversation with pastor Rick Warren, author of the international bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, he pointed out that we often miss how pertinent many of the Bible’s Proverbs are. He thinks we get distracted by references to “kings” and “princes” and rulers that seem far removed from 21st-century America. But, Warren told me, when we take a look at many of the Proverbs in a modern-language translation, we see freshly the kind of leaders and officials the Bible endorses.
Of course, the Bible doesn’t say anything about Republicans or Democrats, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, or even the Green Party. And the Scriptures won’t tell you explicitly for whom you should vote. But the principles catalogued by one of the wisest rulers ever should certainly shape how we approach selecting a leader for the free world.
Here are nine Proverbs from more contemporary translations that every voter should think about before heading into the voting booth.
A Safe Nation Requires Wise Leadership
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers (Proverbs 11:14, NLT).
Sin Among People Is an Indictment on a Whole Country
Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34, NLT).
Good Leaders Are Trustworthy
A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit (Proverbs 16:10, MSG).
Love and Truth Characterize ‘Sound’ Leadership
Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity (Proverbs 20:28, MSG).
Wise Leaders Bring Stability
When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability (Proverbs 28:2, NLT).
Godly Leadership Benefits Everyone
When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan (Proverbs 29:2, NLT).
Poor Leaders Leave a ‘Trail of Waste’
A leader of good judgment gives stability; an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste (Proverbs 29:4, MSG).
Untrustworthy Rulers Put Untrustworthy People Around Them
A ruler who listens to lies will have corrupt officials (Proverbs 29:12, CEV).
Worry More About What You Know God Wants Than Uncertainty in the Future
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed (Proverbs 29:18, MSG).
Aaron Cline Hanbury is a contributing editor for RELEVANT. You can follow him on Twitter at @achanbury