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17th June 2016
The EU referendum is less than a week away, but for many of us the arguments on both sides, instead of giving us clarity, have made the issue more confusing. It’s difficult to wade through the rhetoric to get to the facts, and partly that’s because it’s difficult to know in detail what the consequences will be either way.
Whether you’ve made up your mind or not, here are some principles that we hope every Christian will bear in mind before voting:
1. Pray about which way to vote. This may sound obvious, but for those who feel strongly one way or the other, it can be easily neglected. It mustn’t be. As in all things, we need to be open to God and submit our thinking to the One who renews our minds. The will of God isn’t always the same as what we want. It’s important to seek Him about how we cast our vote, as well as about the outcome and its consequences for our nation and for other nations.
2. Remember that your vote isn’t about your personal preference. For the Christian, we are called to consider the impact on those around us, particularly the poor and vulnerable. Only half of the argument is ‘are we better off in or out?’ The other half is asking ‘is the EU better off with us in or out?’ We’re to think not just about ourselves, but about others too. It’s easy to get caught up in what we want or what we think will be best for us personally, but we need to think beyond our own needs and be gospel-focused.
3. Single issues shouldn’t be deal-breakers. The economy, immigration, and sovereignty seem to be the big issues in this debate – whatever the single issue is, we shouldn’t let fear dictate how we vote. We don’t always know what God is doing, so we need to humbly reflect on a range of issues before making a decision.
4. We are called to honour everyone. This includes people who disagree with us.
a. Across our church family, some will be adamant we should remain in the EU, others will be fully convinced we should leave, some are really confused about which way to vote, and others don’t see the relevance. But we are united in Christ, brothers and sisters who are called to honour each other and bear with one another in love.
b. We’re also called to honour our leaders – to show them kindness and respect whether or not we like what they’re saying, and to pray for them.
Let’s disagree well, and keep honouring everyone, regardless of the outcome. Let’s do this face-to-face, when we’re worshipping together, and when we’re expressing ourselves on social media too.
We are incredibly blessed to live in a country where we get to vote on issues such as this. So let’s thank God that we have this opportunity, and let’s seek Him about how to use it wisely.
Posted by Paul Mann and Natalie Williams