Written By Suzi Cushnie, England
Editor’s Note: Two weeks ago (24 June), the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by 52% to 48%. The following is a letter from a young Christian Brexit voter to her fellow English Christian voters.
Dear fellow voter,
Have you seen it? The hate-filled newsfeeds of those upset about the results of the vote to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union (EU)? And the passive-aggressive behavior of those who voted to stay in the EU?
Maybe not. Maybe you’ve made the wise choice to avoid social media for the last few days.
Let me fill you in. Just over a week ago, Britain voted to leave the EU. The polls was a shock result, and it’s been pretty dramatic ever since. Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped down, while some of those who campaigned for Brexit have since backtracked over major promises or even quit (such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage and former mayor of London Boris Johnson).
The vote to leave has also led to an uprising against the leader of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn. We’re facing a lot of political change; while this probably would have happened anyway, it has now happened just over the space of a week!
Maybe you, like many of the 20-somethings who voted to remain in the EU, are afraid right now. Or maybe you’re angry that our jobs and our futures seem to be even more uncertain than they were a few weeks ago. After all, staying in the EU doesn’t rock the boat. Divorcing ourselves from the EU on the other hand, takes us into uncharted territory. Nobody really knows what is going to happen; all we really know is that it’s going to be complicated, and complicated is scary.
But perhaps not all of our anger and fear is legitimate. Are we assuming that we know best? Could our fear and anger be unfounded and misdirected? Are we more hurt by the fact we didn’t get our way, or by the decision to leave the EU?
Whatever the case and despite all the uncertainty and worry surrounding our future, I’m at peace—not because I can’t be bothered, but because I believe in a glorious and powerful God. The author of Genesis talks of a God who is vastly greater than any man’s comprehension; of a God who spun the universe into existence and who made the stars (Genesis 1:16). This is not a God who is going to be overwhelmed by Brexit.
Not only did God make life, including me and you, but He entered our little world and showed us that all human authority is nothing compared to Him. It’s easy to look at the big political vacuum that has been left by this referendum and be overwhelmed. But when I look outside of my window, or hear a song playing, I see a glimpse of the glory of God.
German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that “fear secretly gnaws and eats away at all the ties that bind a person to God and to others.” It comes to dominate our thinking, creating mistrust, hatred, and selfishness. Fear breaks relationships, rather than bonds us to God and others.
In those moments, let’s remember our Lord and Savior, the man who stood in a boat and rebuked the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). Our response to the tempestuous waters of life should not be fear, like how Jesus’ disciples reacted; it should be one of prayer and faith in our sovereign God.
We ought to pray for our country, asking God to raise leaders who will be able to guide us through the storms ahead. We should pray for unity among the church, even though we may each have different ideas of what’s good for our nation. We should ask God to show us how to be kind and gracious towards each other regardless of our political inclinations, and to give us the strength to do so.
No matter what the vote is, God is sovereign. Regardless of the result, we can be assured that God will use this decision to bring Himself glory. As Christians, we cannot let our votes define or divide us. We are not people who voted “leave” or “remain”—we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are heirs to the kingdom, and we should be defined by our identity as His children—not our political views.
In the Brexit aftermath, we must look to the Lord and trust that He will use this situation for our good, and for His glory.
What the Brexit is about
The word Brexit merges the words “Britain” and “exit” and refers to the move to get the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Those who campaigned for UK to leave argued that the EU had imposed too many rules on businesses and that UK was getting very little in return for the billions of pounds it was paying in membership fees each year. Leaving the EU could also help the UK could reduce the number of immigrants—a big source of unhappiness—they contended.
Those who campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU said that its membership had helped UK significantly, as selling things to other EU countries was easier. They also argued that the flow of immigrants had fuelled economic growth to help pay for public services, and that Britain’s status in the world would be damaged if UK left.
On 23 June, a referendum was held to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. More than 30 million people voted, making it the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 generation election. Those who voted to leave the UK won by 52% to 48%.