We are just a couple of weeks away from the November General Election here in the United States of America, and it is getting a bit crazy. The second presidential debate was held last night. The U.S. House of Representatives in my district is predicted to be a close race. And most people do not know there are two amendments on the ballot in Virginia.

This season is prime time for campaigns and advertisements. They are everywhere: radio, television, social media, and on signs lining the streets.

One thing that has always bothered me about campaign ads these days is what is logically called “negative campaigning”. Negative campaigning is where an ad tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t vote for a particular candidate.

Most negative campaigning is trying to convince you that one candidate is a terrible person and would be a terrible person to have in office.

Every now and then there are ads that describe a person’s voting record or previous policy work which is okay (at least with me). But I wish all candidates would simply get up and say this is why you should vote for me

Earn my vote. 

Tell me why you are the best candidate; not why the other person isn’t.

Tell me what is important to you (or better yet – demonstrate you know what the people you are supposed to represent care about, not what your party platform is). Tell me what you are going to work for. Tell me why you are qualified to represent me and serve the public.

Too often in politics, and in our own lives, we find ourselves bashing other people hoping to make ourselves look better.

As Christians though, we are called to something much greater than relativism and comparing ourselves to others. I can’t tell you how often I have heard someone say, “well I am not as bad as that person over there” or “well, I never killed anyone”.

There are many Scriptures that would illustrate this point very well, but I want to suggest we remember what our true standard is:

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

-Matthew 5:48

This verse is found within what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. It was Jesus’ first public sermon. Throughout this whole chapter Jesus takes some common ideas like murder and adultery and ups the ante. He says that if you hate someone it is the same as murder or if you look at a woman lustfully you have committed adultery.

That was a big shock to the people of first-century Palestine and still just as shocking to many of us today.

But, we are called to be more than moral relativists.

Now, let me be clear: none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. We all sin. And that is the wonder of the Gospel. Jesus loves us anyway. Jesus cleanses us. He can make us new and free us to live life the way He intended it.

If we believe in Him. Who He is and what He has done. He is the only way to live forever in true relationship with God.

What we have to remember is that God has set a standard that is high and constant. Like God, that standard never changes.

We should measure ourselves against His standard not other people.

It is an easy trap to fall into, but I encourage you today to refocus yourself on God’s standard and to stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on God’s glory and His grace. Become the person He has created you to be and live the life He intended for you.

Anyway, I was just thinking…

3 thoughts on “The Problem with Negative Campaigning

    1. Thanks. I know I fall into the comparison contest sometimes and it is important for me to remember that it is not about ranking yourself against someone but whether you are meeting God’s standard.

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