I’ve been introduced to a new, rather annoying political tactic. In the mail on Saturday there was one of those official looking notes that include instructions on how to open them properly along the perforations. Someday I’ll open one along the longer side first just to see if it self-destructs or something. Those types of envelopes are usually from debt relief companies telling me that I have only a couple of weeks left to take them up on the fabulous offer that they have been nagging me about. I just throw those away, expecting that I’ll receive another urgent letter saying the same thing in a couple of weeks.
It must be difficult to come up with ways to encourage people to vote, especially those who could help a campaign come out on top. But this one really annoyed me. I opened the note (as directed) and found my name listed with six others from my neighborhood. It gives a history of each person’s voting record for the past two presidential elections. Of course, there’s no way for those who had issued the note to say whom each of us had voted for. Instead, it tugged at our need to be responsible with the privilege we have to vote by publishing the names of those who had, or hadn’t, taken time to vote in 2004 and 2008, with “pending” in the 2012 column. At the end was what amounted to a warning that another note would be published after the election to inform our neighbors of who took the time to vote for this election.
I didn’t like that one bit. If I wanted people to know if I had voted, I’d rather tell them myself. Maybe it’s the American in me, but I think that it’s nobody’s business what I do. However, this is a point that wouldn’t have been enough to write about. There is something else that’s more important about that letter.
It informs my neighbors that I voted in 2008, but not in 2004. I did vote in 2004, just not in this area. I lived in a northern suburb of Philly at the time and didn’t move here until 2005. But the note didn’t say that. While I’m not for having my attendance record at the voting booth published without my consent, I am all about the importance of voting. Because this is important to me, I resent being misrepresented in this way.
This provides insight into why God was so hesitant to reveal his Name in the Old Testament: people have a tendency to misrepresent him. People who take on the label of “Christian” are, in effect, informing others about who Jesus is with our lives. And as this letter proves, being partially informed about someone is the same as being misinformed about them. God feels far worse about being misrepresented to the world than I did about the misleading nature of my voting record in that note.
If you get an erroneous note like the one I receive, don’t throw it away. Let it remind you of the importance to properly inform people about the God you serve. You publish who God is to those you come into contact with everyday . . . whether he likes it or not.