However United States citizens feel about the long, drawn-out, and contentious presidential election season that is coming to a conclusion on Nov. 8, it’s essential to remember that voting is a privilege not yet accorded to every citizen of the world. And it is a significant responsibility.
What’s been becoming clear to me lately, though, is that how much one single vote actually counts – beyond being one vote among those that make up the total in one direction or another – depends upon the power behind that vote. I’m not talking about human power or influence, but about divine power.
What if, for example, instead of getting all riled up over the campaign, we let our thinking and decision-making be guided by this truth: “Power belongs to God” (Psalms 62:11, New King James Version)? That would be a very unselfish approach. And something I recently read made me realize how powerful that approach would be.
One day, the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, said to her secretary: “Prayer must have no selfishness in it. Hanging pictures and arranging furniture for another’s pleasure is unselfishness, and to the degree that it is unselfish, it is like God.” And then she quoted from page 192 of her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (“We Knew Mary Baker Eddy,” Expanded Edition, Vol. II, p. 447).
As I read that, I realized the practicality of being unselfish: God’s power is behind it. I saw that if my decision-making was unselfish in regard to the multitude of election issues I had a responsibility to sort through, God’s healing power would be behind my decisions.
It would certainly be unselfish to silence within myself any knee-jerk personal reactions to the negativity that’s been voiced by candidates, the media, and public conversation. Praying to understand that all real power actually belongs to God, that He is the only governor of His entire spiritual creation – which includes each of us (see Psalms 100:3) – is a very unselfish way to think. As a practicing Christian Scientist, I have seen that such prayer brings healing.
As I thought about this, my responsibility as a voter seemed more manageable to me. It brought it down to where I could deal effectively, even cheerfully, with the spate of issues constantly put before the public. Instead of thinking I had to understand every point from my limited human knowledge, I could step back mentally and affirm that God, who is divine Love, is the only real power. This would give me the poise and mental clarity to evaluate each issue with intelligence and fairness. This is an unselfish approach because it enables us to give up personal reactions and judgments that cloud our thinking with self-righteousness and confusion. Such unselfishness is “like God” – that is, it reflects, or “receives directly,” His all-power, which is universal Love.
Here’s some sound advice given to us by Christ Jesus: “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37). When we are confronted with the belief that evil in any form has power, we can choose to say “No” to that belief and “Yes” to the power of God, good, which is the only reality. And we can follow through by holding to this as we carefully consider each election issue.
Recognizing that divine power governs the true, spiritual character of everyone enables us to discern human character fairly. It enables us to discern the good in each individual, and to see qualities not derived from God as being no real part of anyone. When we do this in honor of God and in selfless love for our fellow beings, our decisions, and our votes, will have the power of God behind them. Every decision – and vote – made in this way is an unselfish act and reflects the divine power. It will more than fulfill our responsibility as citizens. That makes me feel really good about voting, and about how I can continue to pray effectively after the election as well.
And for those who do not have the privilege of actually voting for those who govern in their country, every unselfish prayer of theirs for the supreme government of God in man will also be a “vote” with God’s power behind it.
This article was adapted from an editorial in the Oct. 24, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.