Truth, Justice, and the Christian Mindset
Truth, Justice, and the Christian Mindset
When I was in high school, government took a much greater role in my life than I anticipated. As a fifteen-year-old in 2016, I was not only starting to face the struggles and challenges that come with being a teenager; I also was witnessing one of the most divisive and polarizing presidential elections in memory. I began asking questions and wondering what my place as a Christian and how my status as an American citizen played into that (I was real fun at parties). I’m sure I was not the only one though. Thankfully, The Bible teaches quite a bit about how our behavior and attitudes towards the government and our discussions ought to be.
With Independence Day coming up this week, I’d like to take a look at two things we know to be Biblically true about living in Christ and being a citizen.
Government is from God
1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” -Romans 13:1-2
It’s a Biblical truth that no matter how we might disagree, dislike, or despise our government, be that the leaders or their decisions, we are to follow them. I don’t remember a whole lot from my junior year of high school, but I something I will never forget is when a classmate of mine and I were talking about revolutions and rebellions across history. Our tutor, a very nice man named Marc, listened to us for a bit, and then asked, “So, as a Christian, do you think you could’ve fought in the Revolutionary War for the colonies? Against the government in place?” It was a difficult question, and frankly, there is an incredible amount of nuance to drawing a conclusion that satisfies historical accuracy and what Romans 13 says. I’ll leave my answer out, because the bigger question from that is, “As a Christian, how do we exemplify Christ when the government does something you don’t like, and we have the chance to do something about it?” We are afforded an incredible opportunity in the United States to take part in an election process and have a say in who leads us. Whether or not someone votes is their decision. The Bible tells us that no matter which authority or who is in a leadership role, be that Federal, State, or local government, we are to be subject to them. Jesus did not come to defeat the Romans and free the Jews from an oppressive government, but instead told them to submit and pay their taxes. Study Romans 13 in its entirety for a good primer on the government and God’s authority.
Christians Have a Standard for Behavior and Support
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ -Philippians 1:9-10
Many of us grumble and complain about certain policies or decisions made by the government. Many of us also openly support and sing the praises of certain matters of government. That’s not a bad thing. However, where we sometimes fall short, is when we have to defend our respective complaints or support. We live in a world of headlines and sound bites to grab attention and spread the message of a particular agenda through word of mouth. It’s easy to be misled when our method of spreading messages that profits off shock value and brevity, because why would we try and look further into something when we have the catch-all phrase right there? We, however, have a responsibility to discern and think critically on these matters and how the Gospel applies. Additionally, we have a responsibility to reevaluate our understanding and opinions on these issues to ensure we’re not ignoring the doctrine of Christ! And to top it all off, we are to do this study and evaluation from a place of non-judgement and love. We have a higher calling in every aspect and interaction, and it can be exhausting. But in the passage above, we see that our call to study Christ is never ending. This extends to our support of certain decisions, policy, and leadership platforms. Something to bear in mind as well, is how we are representing God in discussions and social media posts on government and politics. Are we looking at all aspects of this situation? Are we loving others when we talk about government affairs? Are we using the Bible to guide our thoughts and opinions or are we using the Bible to justify our personal preference? We live in a country that grants us the freedom to debate and question our government, and that’s a wonderful thing. But we must remember that freedom comes first from God, and our goal is ultimately set on Him.
Eat a hot dog. Enjoy the freedoms with which God has blessed us. Keep Christ at the forefront. Happy Independence Day!
-Robert Grode III