“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Christianity and Citizenship
(Please read Romans 13:1-7 and 2 Peter 2:13-17)
In the light of our text passages, most people will agree, no doubt, that it is right for Christians to pay taxes, to obey laws and to cooperate with governing authorities in various ways. Some of you may not agree that this means Christians should vote in secular elections or serve on juries. That stance has had varying degrees of popularity among various religious bodies since the early days of this nation. Its proponents feel that Christians, as citizens of a higher kingdom, should not take part in the governmental process of this one.
If you hold such a view, we mean no disrespect here. But if Christians are indeed the salt of the earth, we need to use their “seasoning” wherever we can; and the ballot box seems a good place to have an influence on the government.
We might even conclude that failure to vote in a two-person race is equivalent to casting half a vote for each candidate, and we’ve all known candidates that we felt didn’t deserve even half a vote from us.
No earthly government will ever be perfect, so it’s usually easy to find something to criticize. But here we should be careful and cautious not to jump in with accusations before they can be verified. Bearing false witness, even against a faceless government, is un-Christian and bad citizenship.
The rewards of good citizenship include being able to live what Paul called “peaceful and quiet lives,” something for which we should be continually thankful to our gracious and benevolent God.