Like everyone else, I have been reading and hearing for some time now countless impassioned appeals for why we should all prefer or dismiss certain Presidential candidates. I’ve heard just about every conceivable justification in both directions targeted at just about every candidate. Now, besides the fact that at least half of these directly contradictory assertions cannot be true, I think it’s worth pointing out that not all reasons for preferring a candidate are created equal. Some criteria are inherently more significant than others.
For example, a candidate’s appearance is less important than a candidate’s character. And a candidate’s record carries much more weight than his rhetoric. Exactly how much more or less weight is a matter of opinion. That is not to say, however, that physical appearance and rhetoric, by way of examples, have NO relevance in our choice. Rather, it means that they are, at best, secondary considerations. They’re icing on the proverbial cake. But it’s cake we’re after – or at least we should be.
But one of the problems is, there’s about a million different reasons to support or not support a person for President, with each one carrying varying degrees of weight. So I got to thinking: if we could sum up the very best criteria for knowing with confidence which candidate really would make the best President – criteria that would be essentially fool proof – what would that criteria be? Could such test even exist?
It was then that I remembered Jesus’ words when he articulated the two greatest commandments in Matthew chapter 22: (1) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; and (2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But, very significantly, He continues on in the very next verse, and says: “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” Voter Guide Translation: The greatest reflection of God’s will and design for a person in leadership is fully expressed in the measure of these two qualities, taken together: How much they love God and how much they love their fellow man.
Believing this as I do, I’d like to pose a new test for selecting the best candidate for President:
1) To what extent does the candidate love God with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind? AND
2) To what extent has he demonstrated love for others?
The candidate with the highest marks is the most qualified. At this point, you might be thinking: that’s much too overly-simplistic, and overly-spiritual for that matter, to be a practicable test. Well, if I was a betting man, my money’s on Jesus, and not faithless inclinations. Beyond the obvious reasons, here’s why.
Loving God with all one’s heart should mean that person is marked by a lifestyle of worship, humility, integrity, and sincerity. Loving God with all one’s soul should mean that person has an eye towards and an understanding of the eternal in addition to the temporal, a wisdom that comes only from above, and a prayerful posture in difficult times. Loving God with all one’s mind should translate into an unwavering commitment to truth and justice, consistency, knowledge, skill, prudence, and discernment. Loving others as one’s self produces such qualities as sacrifice, selflessness, honesty, caution, compassion, and determination.
We should look for these qualities in our candidates. We might discern that they are evidence of a life that is following after God’s two great commands. And if and when we find such a candidate, or to the extent that one candidate exhibits these characteristics more than his competitors, we should vote for that candidate.