An Open Letter from a Christian Voter

April 27, 2022

“I’m really scared for the country.”

My mom says this with a sigh, looking up from her phone. The look on her face fills in the blanks—she’s been reading election-related messages again.

I know how she feels. As May 9th grows closer, my anxiety grows too—my chest tightens up, threatening my ability to breathe. Between the toxic comments, the fake news, and the rumors of planned corruption, participating in the 2022 Elections feels less like a routine civic duty and more like sailing to the Normandy coast on D-Day. The outcome is unclear, and the sense of danger feels all too real.  

“All we can do is trust that God is in control,” I tell her. And I mean it. I know that God is sovereign, and I want to believe in that sovereignty, especially when faced with a situation that seems so out of my control. After all, doesn’t Romans 8:28 say “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose?” Surely I can simply go about my life, untroubled by the post-May 9th future?

But then, I find myself looking back on the past six years of body counts and brutality, division and devastated communities… and find I cannot so easily brush off my concern.

Lately, especially in Christian communities, “social justice” has come to be akin to a slur. Even now, on my own feeds, I’ve had to ignore or even hide posts from people, claiming to be Christ-followers, who openly mock people as “kinain ng eleksyon,” rebuking their “obsession with politics” as a distraction from focusing on God’s work.

What they fail to realize is that participation in politics, to a certain extent, is God’s work: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow's cause,” commands the Lord in Isaiah 1:17. While it is true that passionate fervor can easily twist into blind fanaticism (I, an ardent fan of the KPop scene, can personally attest to that), the root cause of that fervor is not inherently wrong. 

Many of the “political” Christians I’ve spoken to are passionate about these elections because, while they live comfortable lives, they are painfully aware that many of our countrymen do not. Bearing in mind the hungry, the lost, the needy, and the imprisoned, they feel compelled to respond with what I know to be a God-given stirring in their hearts, a desire for justice and compassion in equal measure.

One thing that the past six years has revealed is how so many of our countrymen find themselves voiceless, whether the indigenous communities being suppressed or the victims of drug addiction being killed. In the face of such injustice, how can a believer, who takes Isaiah 1:17 to heart, remain unconcerned? A question I’ve been met with, often, is “What can I do about this?”

Lately, I’ve been seeking solace in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I have come to terms with the fact that, as an ordinary citizen, apart from voting, there isn’t much I can actually do. I do not have the authority to make better policies, nor the ability to imbue power-hungry leaders with a conscience. Corruption, violence, and selfish interests are not unique to those in government - they are things all flesh struggles with, and, as Paul points out in Romans 7, it is a struggle the flesh often loses.

Thankfully, in that same chapter, Paul points to Someone who can do something: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)

As someone with a mental illness that manifests as anxiety, I know that one symptom of the condition is a need to be prepared for everything. Anxiety gives you the impossible task of having everything under control, then torments you with the reality that few things actually are.

In moments like these, faced with my mother’s worried eyes and my feed full of fake news and my country’s uncertain future, I turn to an exercise that’s often recommended for managing anxious thoughts: a can/can’t control list.

I can’t control the outcome of the elections. I can’t control the flood of lies and anger and mockery. I can’t control who steals, or kills, or destroys.

But here’s what I can control: I can vote for legislators who are righteous. I can speak up when I see injustice. I can speak for the voiceless. I can be Christ’s hands and feet to them. And, more than anything else, I can “...approach God's throne of grace with confidence…” (Hebrews 4:16) so that my beautiful, broken nation can receive mercy and find grace to help in this time of need.

Frankie Torres is a self-described "human Christian" and creative. She works a full-time job as an advertising strategist in between 7AM workouts, 4PM runs, 8PM painting sessions, and 1AM #hugot songwriting. Frankie is also the proud owner of six rescued/rehomed cats.

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