Decide 2016 (A Time to Choose)

With America’s birthday just this week what better topic than choice?  No, this is not about the presidential candidate, but do make a decision on that as well, and probably one that respects God if you are a Christian. But the ongoing need to make a decision is a pressing issue for us all.

This is not just what Christianity is about but this is what life is about. God has established some playing rules to this game of life. The most obvious is that we reap what we sow. If we sow to the Spirit we reap eternal life but if we sow to the flesh we reap death. This works in every arena of life. If we work hard we are typically rewarded. If we are lazy we are typically punished. Obedience gets praise, rebellion gets punishment, usually, there are exceptions to the rule but the rules still stands. In general be prepared to experience the results of your choices. If we buffet ourselves towards Godly decisions we reap righteousness. If we believe he is a rewarded of those who diligently seek him, it may play into our choices a bit more. With everything going on in our world I was reminded of the importance of this theme.

4th of July represent this very notion of choice and what it led to historically for America. I have been following the Brexit situation for a bit and the decisions represents a similar choice that Briton had to make. To stay within the European Union was entirely a decision theirs to make. I don’t intend to comment on the appropriate result either way, I haven’t been living under the implications of such arrangements myself. But what I did find amazing was that after the vote was in, seemingly because a leave decision was made, there was an immediate outcry to have a different outcome. I thought this sort of thing only happened in America? Those that wanted to remain didn’t win and then there was immediate talk of a re-vote because, apparently, there seems to be a view that one way is simply better than the other one.

Well, No, that is why you vote.

The point being that people did voice their opinions and well that always means someone else’s opinions was either going to be agreed with or not. There is not a pre-determined best way that everyone must adhere to, right? The people are welcomed a comment, aren’t they? To demand the vote be changed is being a poor democracy. Now, I know the reason is because of the potential outcomes, but this will have to be worked through over time. Will is be difficult? Yes, but the people’s will is being carried out and the rest of people now need to decide how to live in peace with it. One side was always going to win, so one side was always going to concede, how about work together to make things better? But what do I know I am an American.

People then say well they voted based on fears, so? Everybody votes on either hopes or fears, everyone does this always. The hope for one outcome or the fear of another is simply two sides to the same coin and is what drives most people to the polls. See, the push-back from the stay group is equally based on the fears of what the new outcome will be. The leave-side had fears on what remaining would become. Both sides has hopes, both sides had fears and everyone involved acted on them. Economics, immigration, safety? These are all debatable topics, we are not dealing with black and white evil here. So whose fears and hopes are more legitimate? Well they are all very real to the people who hold them and they are free to do so.

Sadly a similar thing also happened in California a few of years back in 2008. Proposition 8 was presented about same-sex marriage and it was voted down by the will of the people. Now voting is a very American thing to do, but what happened next was not. There must be some who possess the ultimate power to overturn the wills of the people because they have some sort of forceful sway over democracy? They decided to ignore the vote and pretend it didn’t happen. If you ignore the wills of people you are no friend of freedom, no friend of the people really. Freedom is essential because people need the ability to choose. This was done in California and it was done later when the Government decided to simply just enact a new sexual morality for us all when we were still rife over the implications. It is still being done with our restroom situations. Now this idea of Government choosing what is best for the people is being talked about in Britain as well, should Parliament go along with Brexit?

All change is hard especially at first but it only gets better after the birth pains are over. All change hurts, all change disrupts, people need to decide if the potential outcome is worth it. They did. Someone could have easily said that America declaring our independence would lead to war and they would have been right. Those fears would have been realized, but it was worth it, no?

To use a less inflammatory example let’s say that we had to take a vote between who we thought was the better performer, artist, musician: Michael Jackson or Prince. Now we could argue the merits of their work and rend over which hits from which artist had more impact. We could fight over Purple Rain or Billy Jean till the cows come home but at the end of the day we have to cast a vote and we do. Now suppose the vote comes back as Michael Jackson as the better of the two (of course) but now suppose the Prince supporters just will not let this stand and they protest and fight. Now the implications of such a vote are obviously benign in comparison, but the method and hearts of the people are not. They are both carried out with the ability to choose and get this: the dignity to have those choices acknowledged. It is based on the idea that the wills of voters matter.

Having the freedom to choose and experience the consequences is a human dignity. The pro-choice people at least have this right, even though their applications are deplorable.

If these details are removed then we might as well have policy dictated to us rather than sit under a masquerade of freedom, which is reveled as such when it is quickly descended upon and squelched when it doesn’t reflect the establishment. Votes are weighed consensus for the purpose of enacting the desires of the people. Some commentators have suggested that this Brexit vote and equally the rise of popularity of Trump, are more of a critique and strike against the establishment than necessarily an endorsement of all the merits of the policies/individuals involved.

It really seems to be a vote to make sure our votes actually matter.

Now I say all this not because I am some political expert, ha I am not! But because while there may be a best way to do things only someone with ultimate wisdom and authority should decide what that is. We however do not go about this like Anakin Skywalker wanted. He thought someone with great wisdom should make all the decisions and everyone else should be forced to adhere to them, that is tyranny, that is the supreme chancellor abusing the galactic senate. I think the point is many people have noticed that our democracies are starting to have a slightly fascist sheen to them. “Some animals are more equal than others.” To quote Animal Farm. People are being refused dissent. Thankfully God doesn’t do this. He provides the best and only answer to mankind’s problems and hopelessness. He offers a savior to the world’s problems but the remarkable thing is that he offers his people the ability to choose it or not. In this sense our votes do matter with God. He won’t overturn them even though he actually could.

Even though he possess all the wisdom and power and freedom to rule, he does not use it as a rod on the backs of the populace. He is good, he says freely come or don’t. There are always consequences to all choices, but the choice is always yours. People are free to come to him based on hopes of heaven, fears of hell, joys of salvation, whatever it may be, God welcomes them all and it only gets better with time. God’s ways are the best ways, but his creation is freely able to come to that conclusion. His people are freely welcomed to the table but if they desire to come they had best come in the predetermined banquet clothes. This is what that parable about the wedding banquet is about. (Matt 22) God is calling and it wouldn’t be much of an invitation if we simply had no choice in the matter, but it also wouldn’t be much of a calling if we could simply do whatever we wanted in his presence. This is why it is a silly and dangerous doctrine to assume that God will save everybody in the end. God does not force people into a relationship with him in this life or the next one. There is an if-clause to John 3:16.

God himself seems to put value in our ability choose. He gave Adam and Eve a choice and we live with those consequences everyday. An angel could have said to God you could not possibly give humanity that choice, look at the consequences that will come about! But God allows us to reap the whirlwinds of our volition. He has plans in mind, he is good! But this is why Christians get so uppity about freedoms being repressed because we recognize the value and the God given-ness of the whole enterprise. God wants us to freely choose him this year and every year after. But this requires a people who understand what true freedom means, the ability to miss the mark. The necessity to live with our decision and the ability to change.

God wants all of this for us, he has sent out the invitation, so what you do with it entirely up to you. He is calling us, drawing us, so respond, but remember, your God-given choices have God-given consequences. So decide this 2016.

thanks

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