Voting Guid(ance)

Listen to this week’s Devotional here.

Author: Nicole Speer

Most people in my political circles are sending out 10–20-page voter guides this week. Now that I am Someone Who Knows Things About Politics, I see why they do this. Many of my friends, acquaintances, and colleagues are asking me about candidates and issues on our ballots and writing a guide would save time.

As someone who works to emulate the love I find in Jesus’s teachings, I think there’s a reason I haven’t written a voter guide. Our Teacher used his life not to write guides that tell us how to make every decision we confront, but to teach us general principles that empower us to make our own decisions in a way that is aligned with our faith: Love God, and Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.

As I’ve reflected on which principles from my faith guide my voting decisions, I’ve realized that I also have two general principles:

Do not be afraid.


The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.

~U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley

As we get closer to election day, I am astonished by the half-truths, mistruths, and outright lies being thrown around on national, state, and local levels. “Be afraid!” is the message many campaigns are using to sway voters. Even as someone who has enough knowledge to know there is nothing to fear, the more of certain election-related ads and articles I see and read, the more I find my fear rising to the point where I start to doubt my decisions.

It turns out that comparing which sides of ballot measures or candidates are spreading fear and which are spreading hope is a foolproof method for making voting decisions. If a campaign is focusing on telling you all the things you will lose or all the ways your “yes” or “no” vote will make things go wrong, the only thing they have to stand on is fear, hatred, and anger. If a campaign is focusing on telling you all the things you or your community will gain or all the ways your “yes” or “no” vote will make things better, they are grounded in faith, hope, and love.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

God intends for us to live with hope, not to live in fear. That is our Christian way, so look for the messages of hope when you cast your votes. That is where we will find God’s hand.

As I make my way through 2022’s massive ballot, the other principle I am using to guide my decisions is humility. Who has the power in the campaign, and who has a seat at the table? Every remotely controversial candidate or ballot issue has “for” and “against” committees that are either trying to get the candidate elected or ballot issue passed, or that are trying to stop the candidate from getting elected or stop the ballot issue from passing. Each of these committees has a website, and on that website, they have a page devoted to endorsements.

These endorsements pages typically list people with a lot of fancy-sounding titles, and organizations with varying degrees of familiarly. The important factor on these endorsements pages is not how many fancy-sounding titles the campaign has accumulated, but how much they have humbled themselves in the process. What perspectives do the people and organizations bring to the endorsements table? Are the endorsers established organizations with a long history of working for human and civil rights? Are the endorsers individuals or groups of individuals who are diverse in age, wealth, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and ability? If a campaign for a candidate or issues has a very homogenous set of endorsers without endorsements from organizations with a proven history of advocating for those with the least, that campaign is lacking humility.

“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” ~Luke 14:11

Humbling ourselves at the ballot box means recognizing that our faith calls us to listen most closely to the voices that have traditionally been silenced in our systems of power.

It’s never as easy to be told to make your own decisions as it is to be told what to do, but I hope my faith-centered voting guid(ance) will be helpful to you as you fill out your ballots in the coming weeks. Please be sure to vote all the way down the ballot – local issues matter, too!


Lord, as we go forth and vote, give us the strength to overcome our fears, the faith to lift up hope, and the humility to work for justice.


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