Rev. Dr. Ralph Williamson (File photo)

It is time to leave the past behind and look forward as we prepare for the 2022 midterm elections. Much is at stake, including the safety and state of our nation and laws that will determine how we deal with the ongoing threats of gun violence, global warming, our economy, and human rights.

Each political party has its agenda to confront these crucial issues. However, the question for all of us as we cast our vote is which agenda aligns with your personal social and economic beliefs?

This election is not a time to be passive when our freedom and individual rights are at hand. Make no mistake; your vote will make a difference! History is a great teacher in understanding the power of the vote and the lack thereof.

We must engage and encourage others to participate in the voting process. Failure to vote may deny your children a future representing who they are as a people.

We have a moral and spiritual responsibility to protect the dignity of all people: the poor, the disenfranchised, and the immigrant. We must vote for what is right and let the Lord be the judge.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. In the same way, you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1.

The church and our religious institutions are to teach, equip, inform and transform lives, not our politicians. Do not confuse the two when you cast your vote. The Lord’s agenda is not a political agenda, so be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The late John Lewis reminded us of what is at stake:

“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”

We cannot move mountains if we decide to give up. We will never get out of the valley if we never look up with hope or overcome the turbulent winds if we do not press our way through the storm. Pray, and seek the Lord for guidance. Become aware of the issues and where every politician stands before you vote. Too much is at stake!

The Rev. Dr. Ralph E. Williamson is the senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine, CA.