by Rayola Kelley
Q: I realize that this question may not be relevant at this time, but I am confused about what my responsibility is towards my country. Some leaders encourage Christians to get involveD with the political scene, while others act as if it is almost a sin, or that it’s irrelevant to vote, as well as keep up on political events that are affecting this nation. Could you help clear up my confusion?
A: I am aware of these two opposing attitudes among Christians. However, taking an extreme position can prove to be dangerous. To put too much hope in or focus on this nation’s activities can end up becoming idolatrous, thereby, causing people to lose perspective. Nevertheless, to fail to do what is right towards the issues confronting this nation can also end in the sin of omission, where righteousness is not being properly applied as a contrast or testimony. There is a fine balance between these two extremes that must be Scripturally addressed to ensure a proper attitude in our Christian lives.
We know according to 1 Timothy 2:1-4 that we are to be in subjection to the authority of our leaders as long as it does not compromise our Christian life and responsibilities, as well as pray for them as a means to ensure we can live in peace in our country. The reason we should seek after and desire such peace is that peace points to the liberty to fulfill our commission to preach the Gospel and to make disciples of Christ.
Some Christians feel that their calling is in politics. God has always had His people in every arena of the world to serve as a testimony of Him. David was a king, Esther became queen so she could intercede on behalf of Israel, Daniel was placed in high positions in two empires, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king, and there were believers were part of the political machine in the early Church. Because of these many examples, I have no problem with Christians being in political office as long as they remember that their main responsibility is to serve as a godly light and contrast in such positions. It is important to point out that a nation cannot save the people, and the people cannot save the nation. There is only one Savior, and that is Jesus Christ. Although moral accountability is necessary to ensure the greatness of a nation, it will simply hold lawlessness at bay, while the Gospel has the power to change the hearts of man. Therefore, a moral, upright nation will prove to be beneficial to the masses, but a changed heart will prove to be more excellent for it can produce a bountiful harvest that can bring lasting, eternal changes to homes, churches and societies.
Proverbs 14:34 tells us that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. This brings us to the Christian’s responsibility towards their nation. Our greatest voice is the voting booth. We need to vote, not according to party, personal causes, checkbooks, political promises, etc, but according to righteousness. If the stands of the politicians are not righteous, their character will prove to be untrustworthy as well. The only dark fruit a leader of such character can promise anyone is that of oppression.
Christians are to be the light in their present age. As believers, we must come out and be separate from all works of darkness. We must be willing to reprove such works to bring contrast, as well as give the Holy Spirit the avenue to convict people of their need to be saved from such sin (Ephesians 5:5-13).
Clearly, the darkness of this present age has taken hold of people’s hearts and minds. Where is the penetrating light that is to shine into this darkness? Has the darkness become greater than the light because it is more powerful, or has the light become dim because the oil is low or missing altogether? Darkness cannot extinguish a light that is burning brightly.
The Church of Jesus is meant to make an impact on nations with the life-changing Gospel. When a nation’s light of moral substance and freedom becomes dull, it is usually because good men do nothing to hold the line of righteousness, while bad men push their wicked agenda on a nation. The problem is that when good men finally arise from their comatose state of complacency, the darkness has usually already done irreversible damage.