Christian principles related to taking a political stand
Politics. It’s a word that represents a world of power, prestige and problems. It’s a word that conjures up anger, division and disrespect. It is a word that often gives us a sense of retreat and uncomfortable acceptance. Sometimes I think we forget that the ideal perspective of political power is to serve the needs of the people. With the utter lack of tolerance society seems to have embraced in dealing with political and social issues, what role should a Christian play? Are we supposed to pick the side we think is most just and righteous? Are we obliged to stand for principles? If so, what principles and what about the need for compromise? Would that change anything? What would Jesus and the apostles do if they lived in our time? What should we do to best stand for our beliefs and discipleship?
Christians under Roman rule
Both Peter and Paul wrote down advice as to how Christians should respond to the governmental powers of their day. Much of what they said had to do with respect for authorities, as they are in place to promote doing good. This is interesting as they were under Roman rule. Though they did have strong religious freedom, they were also limited as to how they lived their lives politically. It looks like both Peter and Paul were telling the young Christian church to appreciate what they had, be good citizens and be faithful to God always.
Fast forward about 2,000 years. What does this mean for us here and now? Many of us live in countries of greater freedom than the early Christian church of the 1st century CE. Does the fact that our freedom is markedly different create an environment of more complex responsibilities? I would say the answer is an unequivocal yes.
What are we supposed to do?
So, what is required of Christians in this age of freedom? Are we to participate in politics as a good citizen should? Should we stand apart from those things because Christ is our King and we live for his kingdom? While figuring out these questions is difficult, where we set our foundation on which to build our answer is not. It all comes down to Christian liberty. While we are to make decisions in our lives according to this liberty, we are also warned to not let our liberty be used inappropriately.
Application of our Christian liberty is reflected in our attitude. So, with all the wrangling in the world of politics, how are YOU doing with that? Are you able to stay above the fray? Are you on the winning side of the battle of emotions versus principles? Can you accept the conscience of your brothers and sisters who see the whole political involvement issue differently? Check out our November 2, 2020 podcast, “Are We Supporting the Right World Leaders?” for more. We break down the principles Christians need to be righteous and we insert the profound teachings of Jesus at every step. These are powerful lessons for difficult and trying times!
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