Elections and divine power
However United States citizens feel about the long, drawn-out, and contentious presidential election season that is coming to a conclusion on voting day, November 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, of course, 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, while Adam Dickey was serving as secretary to the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, she said to him: “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 healing 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 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 realize and understand that all real power actually belongs to God—not to any person or persons—is a very unselfish way to think. It demands of us that we acknowledge God’s power as supreme; that God, good, is the only real Mind, and the only real governor of His entire creation.
As a practicing Christian Scientist, I have experienced proof over and over again that when I realize that God, good, is the only real Mind and power, and I let that Mind govern the way I think on any given issue, the result is healing.
Praying to realize and understand that all real power actually belongs to God—not to any person or persons—is a very unselfish way to think.
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, and even cheerfully, with the spate of issues constantly put before the public—what to believe concerning the character of the candidates, about their position on issues, about media reports, about the security of the voting process, and much more. Instead of thinking I had to understand every point from my limited human knowledge and viewpoint, I could step back mentally and affirm that God, divine Love, is the only Mind and power. I could do this regarding whatever issue was presented to me—and this would give me the grace, poise, and mental clarity to discern and evaluate each issue with intelligence and fairness. This is an unselfish approach because it enables one to give up those 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 ). Along these lines, Mrs. Eddy wrote: “To decide quickly as to the proper treatment of error—whether error is manifested in forms of sickness, sin, or death—is the first step towards destroying error. Our Master treated error through Mind” (Science and Health, p. 463 ). So, whenever we are confronted with the belief that evil in any form has power, we can “decide quickly” to say “No” to that belief, knowing it is powerless. And we can say “Yes” to the power of God, good, knowing it is the only power and reality. And we can follow through by actually making those decisive decisions on the side of divine power, and holding to them, as we carefully consider each election issue.
In regard to each suggestion that God’s government of man can be put in jeopardy, we can decide quickly for the reality of divine power as the only governor of man, and for the consequent impotence of error. Deciding on the side of divine power as governing the true character of everyone involved 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; they are baseless errors without a single iota of power. 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. It will more than fulfill our responsibility as citizens. Our vote will have more than human power behind it; it will do much good by reason of the divine power it reflects. 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.