Discussing politics and religion at family gatherings is like drinking orange juice with your spaghetti: you just don’t do it. We have all heard these topics are off-limits around family and friends, and it may be because of that one family member is a little over the top… okay consumed by this subject. They may have an extra strong opinion and believe they are going to convince you they are right before you can get in line for lunch. Avoiding the discussion of politics and religion with family members like this is understandable ha. But not all cases are like that all the time. For me, I avoided these discussions out of fear I may not be as up-to-date as others on certain issues. This could be a fear of yours, but let’s understand that while these subjects may not be your strength, we should not let fear keep us from learning and being involved in governmental issues.
Last week we discussed what millennials have seen and what God’s design is for the family.
Here is a quick recap of God’s design for the family:
1. Families represent a picture of God’s relationship with us and love for us (Ephesians 5:22-28).
2. God created the family because men need help. More seriously, the family was created so that one member can complement another (Genesis 2:18).
3. God commands us to grow our family (Genesis 1:28).
This week let’s look at God’s purpose for government and our role in it.
Gods Purpose for Government
“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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but too bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Romans 13:1-7
Even though we want to roll our eyes at hearing the words “government” and “politics”, these things were designed by God Almighty to protect what is good and to punish what is bad (Romans 13:3-4). Take 30 seconds to imagine no stop signs, no personal property, no police, no laws, and no constitutional rights. The result would be beyond chaos. Government impacts our lives every day, whether we realize it or not. Local, statewide, and national laws are repealed and passed often. We have to obey these laws whether we like them or not.
Our Role in Government
I understand discussing politics can easily become tense. Even though government and its decisions will always be contentious, Christians must look to God’s Word for principles applicable to our views of government. Here are six primary ways Christians view government and the first five are based on mistaken views of scripture. These are mentioned in Alex McFarland’s 10 Issues that Divide Christians:
1. The government should force a particular religion. This is not a long-term answer and defeats the whole point of religious freedom.
2. Religion should be excluded from all government matters. If you leave the politics and government strictly to the pagans than you will be forced to follow laws that pagans make
3. Reject all government because it is evil. Come on Christians, even though this only makes up a small percent of Christians I’m going to have to call you on this.
4. The government should not be of concern. “I don’t know who ate your Constitution but it’s not my problem.” This person should understand that freedom is not free and many people died for our freedom.
5. The government does not need religion. This is not loving your neighbor as yourself. A Christian who’s occupation is politics, should not leave their responsibility to evangelize and disciple at the house during their work hours.
6. The government should be influenced by religion. This is the correct biblical approach.
Christians should influence local, state, and national government. This is the appropriate biblical role when it comes to politics and social issues. Those who seek to share the gospel and influence government will find a rich legacy of God’s followers in the Bible doing just this throughout the teachings of Scripture. Just to name a few:
Joseph: Influenced the entire land of Egypt by God’s will (Gen. 41-47).
Esther: Served as queen, yet also fasted and prayed for three days and begged the king to save the Jewish people (Esther 7:3-4).
John the Baptist: Spoke against Herod’s sin while he was baptizing in the river, calling people to repent (Luke 3:19).
Jesus: Corrected the Pharisees (politicians of the day) on several occasions (Matthew 21).
I understand that we all have different skills and gifts. We are not all called to be a senator, governor, or state official, but we also are not all called to be a professional athlete, coach, engineer, entrepreneur, etc. If your skills and gifts are in politics, that is, great. We need more Christians in politics. As followers of Jesus, we should seek to influence government at a local, state, and national level. This is what Jesus expects from us.
Here are the fundamental ways our parent ministry can help you stay involved.