This political season has surely been interesting. All the political pundits have been wrong or confounded. I am not going to tell anyone who to vote for. That’s not my place. But I do believe that it is my place to discuss the kind of person that a leader should be. Why? The Bible is very clear about what character qualities should exist in a leader.

As a government for the people and by the people we have a sacred obligation and privilege to elect our leaders. Those individuals we elect can greatly influence the direction of our country! For example the next President is going to most likely nominate 2 to 4 Supreme Court justices. Do you think the court has an impact! Unfortunately too many people (including Christians) have neglected that responsibility and have not thought clearly and deeply about what they are doing when they exercise that responsibility. I sometimes wonder if I would ask some basic civics questions of Christians whether they would be able to answer them correctly. From time to time we see news people ask the public those basic questions and frankly I’m shocked at the level of ignorance. And I also wonder if the average person knows the difference between one political philosophy and another or one economic philosophy and another. For example, “Do you know the difference between a socialist and a capitalist, a progressive and a conservative, a libertarian and a liberal?” Unfortunately even some politicians don’t know! The leader of a major party was asked on MSNBC what the definition of a socialist was and she literally was stumped. Couldn’t answer. Yet on the Democrat side we have a self-defined socialist running for President. So before you vote every person should think through and ask this question, “What are the differences in economic and governing philosophy between the candidates? How does this square with the constitution? Does this make sense? Is it realistic? Do I agree with it? etc.” Be informed. Read their positions on their web sites. Do some investigation of their positions and the arguments against their positions. Ask, “Are these positions Biblical or is the Bible silent on them?” Think about their experience and qualifications for the job.

But as I said maybe the most important thing we should look at is the character of the person we are voting for. What kind of person is the candidate? When the Apostle Paul was writing his protege Timothy about choosing leaders for the church in Ephesus, Paul made some very clear and specific guidelines on the type of person that should be a leader in the church. You can read about them in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. I’m just going to list them off: above reproach (doesn’t have anything disgraceful in background), the husband of one wife (marital fidelity), self-controlled, sensible (heart of wisdom), respectable (worthy of respect), hospitable (gracious to strangers), an able teacher (able to get ideas across so people can understand them), not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle (treats others with respect and care), not quarrelsome (doesn’t like to argue), not greedy,–one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (The idea is that if he/she can’t manage their own household how can they manage anything else!), good reputation among outsiders.

It’s a pretty extensive list, and no one is perfect. All leaders will have some short-comings and strengths in certain areas. But this is the guideline, and Paul didn’t tell Timothy to lower the standards just to put someone in the position of being a leader if he can’t find someone to fill a position. So if you are going to vote take this list, look at the candidates, and see how they measure up. No candidate is perfect. But which candidates seem to most closely mirror these qualities. Then take those candidates that you think most mirror these qualities and begin to investigate their positions; their philosophy toward governance. Look at their positions’ pros and cons, and prayerfully ask God for a heart of wisdom. Also talk to others about the candidates. Get their opinions and insights. They might give you important insights and information you hadn’t thought about.

But be informed! Don’t just vote on the basis of emotions such as anger. Don’t vote on the basis of rhetoric or negative campaign ads. The anger of man does not bring about the righteous life God desires. Anger may motivate you to investigate, but it shouldn’t be the basis of your vote. Gain a heart of wisdom. Then prayerfully make a decision, go to the polls, and exercise the responsibility of voting.