According to a recent survey, the average user spends approximately 42 minutes a day interacting with Facebook. Most of us will invest those 42 minutes trawling through our newsfeed, looking at people’s photos and updates and willingly assigning a digital tick identifying our appreciation of our “friend’s” current achievements, whether they be a picture of their child’s latest faux pas, something nice their partner did for them that day or simply the fact they’ve just checked in at McDonalds in Oldbury!
But ask the average person which candidate they’re going to assign their electoral tick to in the coming general election and you’ll be met with a smorgasbord of responses justifying why they’re not going to bother voting at all.
Why is it we’re ready to put our tick of approval next to the banal, the forgettable and the immediate but not against the things that will affect our future and our children’s future in this nation?
The answer could be quite a simple one: ignorance.
That may sound a tad harsh but in my own personal experience, it’s been true. I am ignorant. I’m ignorant to what each of the parties really stand for. Deciphering their policies on immigration, the economy, the NHS, national defence and all of the other things takes time. So I’ve made excuses, justifying why I can’t find out what separates Labour and the Tories on national taxation and instead, I’ve sat on my sofa and let the minutes tick on while I search on google for useless facts and make clever little comments under my friends’ statuses on Facebook. And so the time passes by.
God forgive me for my disinterest and apathy. It’s not been intentional Lord. It’s just been easier than investing the time and prayerfully considering how to use this wonderful gift you have given me of having the right to vote. Of having a say that means something. Of having an opinion that, quite literally, COUNTS.
The more I’ve researched the topic for this month’s newsletter over the last few weeks, the more convicted I’ve felt myself becoming. The reality is, the right to vote is an honour. Women threw themselves under horses so that I could do it. War torn countries engage in bloody civil wars in the pursuit of democracy and the right to vote. So I’m lead to believe that my wilful disengagement from the whole process is not only apathetic, it’s ungrateful. Some may even argue it’s sinful (read this month’s Love Wolverhampton section in this newsletter for more on that).
Consequently, I’ve begun a journey in the build-up to the general election in May of finding out what the main parties really stand for so I can vote wisely. I was reminded recently that most of us simply vote for who our Dad’s voted for. This has always been true for me. My Dad has voted for a certain party, so I’ve always done the same. But as a Christian, I have a Father in heaven who I believe wants me to vote a certain way. So my prayer has recently become: who Lord?
I’d challenge you to ask Him the same question.
I’d also challenge you to embark on the same journey I have and find out what the main parties plan to do if they get in power. Christians in Politics have some fantastic summaries of each of the party’s policies to help you vote prayerfully. They’re unbiased and relatively short. I’d recommend you read them before you vote. The BBC have done something similar. Both can be accessed here:
Most of all, remember this: if we want evil to flourish, all good people have to do is nothing. Use your vote on May 7th and stand for goodness. Stand for the poor. Stand for fairness and justice. Stand for hope and investment. Most of all, turn up at your polling booth and stand for whatever your Father God asks you to, so that this nation’s government will truly be upon His shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6).
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you can do so here.
On behalf of Love Black Country