Voting one's conscience - with wisdom from above

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Legislators are being asked to make a particularly difficult decision. They are to rise above even good human reason, examine their innermost thoughts and feelings, and vote their conscience regarding impeaching the President of the United States of America. They face spin, arm twisting, even threats to their careers. And a plethora of information.

Some readers may give their thoughtful perspectives, but in order to be of the most help, even informed opinions should give way to prayer for wisdom. Wisdom in the electorate, reflected in legislative wisdom, is the need of the hour.

The conscience of each of us will speak in the quietude of prayer. This is not merely folded-hands prayer, nor the quiet of solitude. It's a heartfelt desire to know and do what is best. Such prayer is itself real wisdom. It helps free us from the fear that the wrong thing will be done, so that an atmosphere of calm trust can prevail.

Honoring his Hebrew heritage, Christ Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matt. 5:17). And through his own incomparable spiritual integrity, he proved again and again that God's beneficent will is done on earth. He taught his followers to pray, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

The Christian Science textbook comments on this prayer, "Enable us to know, - as in heaven, so on earth, - God is omnipotent, supreme" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 17). The best support we can give our elected officials is to recognize that God is indeed omnipotent. It is to put down any cynical imputing of wrong motives, or doomsday prophesying, with the conviction that supreme means supreme. It means that God's will prevails no matter how much confusion appears to be in human thought.

This doesn't mean that there has to be unanimous agreement among legislators. Nor that those who pray for our leaders will all come to the same conclusions. Supremacy means that what is best for the country at this particular time, and under these circumstances, must become apparent.

The following biblical statement could inspire and instruct the constituency of each politician: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17). This wisdom is something above reasoning about the human facts. It is "pure" - free from the pros and cons of debate.

If prayer is demanding that someone change his or her thinking and course of action, there is still peace, even the peace that is above human understanding. Divine wisdom is "gentle, and easy to be entreated." Those elected to office shouldn't be unduly burdened. Many have said they wished they didn't have to debate impeachment issues. At the same time, they indicate a willingness to continue to serve their country, which is tantamount to serving the people. Divine Love underlies and upholds this service.

There's promise that wisdom "from above" will be merciful and filled with "good fruits." God's mercy involves a cleansing of all hearts, whereby only justice can be served. Errors of judgment and character will be purified.

Asking others to vote their conscience is asking for their own self-examination. In fairness, it demands that we, too, engage in this.

The wisdom we seek is "without partiality, and without hypocrisy." This prevents voting that is simply partisan. And it promises freedom from the haunting hypocrisy that acts out of political expediency.

The sincere and loving desire to support good government will guide our prayers to ultimate effectiveness. The more carefully we each examine conscience, and purge what is unlike the wisdom from above, the easier it will be for those in Washington to vote their conscience.

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