Why Sarawak Christians voted the way they did

A great deal of expectations was laid on Sarawak voters to bring about a change in the political status quo. Fellow Malaysians pinned their hopes on Sarawakians to vote for a level political field. Malaysian Christians hoped their Sarawak brothers and sisters will choose righteousness over basic needs. All were disappointed because the majority of Sarawak voters bought into BN promises hook, line and sinker.

Apparently, Sarawak voters voted the way they always have — for whatever BN can offer them. They were unable to see a better alternative. Or, perhaps, a better alternative was not effectively presented to them. Perhaps the logistics of reaching out to a scattered population in a huge state and the lack of resources prevented a better reach.

My concern, however, is with the Christian voters. I have only one question for them: Did Sarawak Christians vote by faith? If they did, the outcome would clearly be God’s will. As it is, it appears as if they voted to meet their needs — not to advance God’s values in the public sphere. Faith is necessary to meet our needs and advance God’s ways, but they are not mutually exclusive. We do the former by faith and ensure that God’s ways are always what we are seeking in every decision we make to fulfill our needs, goals and desires. Sometimes, though, they are mutually exclusive and we have to decide which priority has precedence over others.

As we are grow in faith and become increasingly attuned to God’s ways, we will know which priority is putting God first at that particular time and which needs to be sacrificed and we do it in the confidence of faith. For example, giving to church is important as it is an example of bringing the first fruits of our labour to God. But, when we have children to educate and relatives to take care of, their needs may take precedence over giving to church, and we decide to give less. And, that’s ok because at a later date the decision can be reversed.

The ability to know which priority to give up at a particular point in time is an example of a confident faith. If we are surrendered about our priorities, we could give up any priority at any given time in favour of a course of action that advances God’s ways and promotes dependence on Him.

In the Sarawak elections, perhaps, competing priorities were not made known to the Christian voters. So, they voted as they always have — for their bellies and their pockets because those are their priorities. Was faith involved? I don’t know.

What I know is that if they had voted by faith, God’s good values would have become evident. That has not happened. For God to move through us, He needs our faith in Him. Being God, He can, of course, do things without us but that would be a demonstration of supernatural might which happens occasionally but not in the everyday decisions of our life.

In the every day matters of our life, whether in our personal lives or in public life, it is our acts of faith that bring about His values into our reality. Those acts of faith are as powerful as the acts of God! Jesus says in Matthew 17: 20: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Faith is what moves things in our reality and brings the will of God to pass. I wonder: If the Christian spiritual leaders in Sarawak had taught Christians on the power of acting by faith to bring about God’s righteous values in the public sphere, would the outcome of the state elections have been different? I guess we will never know. Well, spiritual leaders have a huge task ahead of them to teach on every Christian’s ability to effect change in their own lives and in public life by acting on faith.

In my assessment of Sarawak Christian voters’ ability to bring about a better government, faith was the factor I did not consider. That was my mistake. I assumed, being Christian, they would vote by faith. And, the outcome I had hoped for did not happen.

It was the same mistake I made in a couple of issues involving others. I assumed, as Christians, they would act by faith. They didn’t and what was hoped for didn’t happen. If they had acted in faith to seize the opportunity presented to them, it would have happened. Just like the Sarawak voters, if they had seized the chance to bring about change, it would have happened. But faith was not operative and the outcome was a natural consequence of where they were at, at that point in time.

Without faith, God can’t move to make our dreams, desires and goals come true and have our needs met. We may have faith in other things, but, if we don’t apply faith in the everyday workings of life, what we want won’t happen and unresolved issues will remain, sadly unresolved.

The thing about faith is that, with practice, we become confident in the exercise of it. It is that confidence that compels us to reach out or cast a vote in favour of what we want. What we want is also what God wants because we won’t want anything that is not of God! In that confidence, we act by faith and the outcome can only be good!

 

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