As I write this, it’s voting day. I’ve spent the past hour surfing recent news articles and official bios of the candidates that will be on my ballot. In this time, it is so easy—common even—to be critical of our country’s sliding morals and corrupt government. But this much remains true: we are free to worship. We are free to share our faith. Today, I am free to vote.
I read a book last year called “Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey From the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games.” In it, the author said that when he heard he could win a chance to come to America, he could not believe it. He had grown up hearing a saying about America: “The only difference between heaven and America is that you have to die to go to heaven.”
Compared to countries like China and North Korea, where being a Christian is punishable by law, or Russia, where the country’s Prime Minister is a leader beyond question or criticism, we truly live in a nation so rich, we are considered by many in the world to be arrogant and materialistic. I know your life can be tough. I know it’s not easy to obey God in this world.
But in a world where your daily needs are met, it is easy to forget God. It’s easy to believe the lie that you deserve the life you have been given.
Understand this: your sins make you worthy only of condemnation. You were born in this time, in this place, only because God willed it so. Are you more worthy than a Chinese Christian of free worship? No, you’ve done nothing to deserve it; God allows you to have it. Let’s not take any of that for granted. Let’s understand the place of our country in the world: rich and free, yes, but often resented and despised, much like spoiled brats.
Less than half of Americans exercise their right to vote. Is this because terrorist groups threaten to cut our fingers off if we vote, as the Taliban has in Afghanistan in past elections? No; it’s simply because we are uninformed, lazy, or cynical. What good is a single vote? You would be surprised what the ripple effects are of your “I Voted” sticker or of your telling a classmate you’re going to vote after class. Your one vote might turn into a handful of votes.
And more importantly, your Christian T-shirt, your mention of going to church might do more than you think. If your freedoms as an American are often forgotten or neglected, what about your freedoms as a Christian? Not only are we free to wear whatever clothes we want (unlike women in Iraq), and to worship wherever we want (unlike Chinese Christians), we are free to talk about our faith. To give people a reason for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). Try it today: read the news. Pray about the troubling stories you read, thanking God for your freedom, not earned, but given. And share your faith with those around you. It’s your right in this nation, and your responsibility as a Christian. Don’t be afraid: the message you know and believe has saving power (Romans 1:16). Show that you’re proud to be an American and Christian.