So yesterday was the big day. I hope everyone voted. I know I did. At the time of this writing, I do not know yet who won the election, but please understand that whether it was the person you voted for or not, today is a day that everyone in America needs to get behind and support our elected leader because that person will be our voice for the next 4 years.
So why is government so important? If God rules over all of us, why is it so important that we even have a president. I would like to look at a short bit of Scripture to try to gain some understanding on this.
13 Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. 2 So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. 4 For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. 5 Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. 6 And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. 7 Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
Romans 13 tells us that government has been established by God. Because of this, Christians shouldn’t avoid government, seeing it as bad. Instead we should become involved in the political process. One of the best parts of democracy is that you and I can participate in bringing change. Thousands of American citizens and soldiers have fought and died throughout our history as a country to help maintain our freedoms and one of our biggest freedoms is our right to vote. We need to exercise this right, even if it is for no other reason than to honor their sacrifice.
7 Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.
In Jeremiah 29:7, God tells us to “seek the welfare of [our] city.” Can we really say we are seeking the welfare of our city or nation when we don’t vote? I believe that one of the most Christ-exalting things we can do is to love our city and nation by exercising our right to vote.
There are times when we can use the government as an instrument of change by working in tandem with it and voting for candidates who represent our views and biblical convictions. There are other occasions, however, when we can use the government to ignite change by standing against it. Isn’t this exactly what we saw with the Civil Rights Movement?
I would like to issue one word of caution with this though. Christians are sometimes guilty of placing issues ahead of people. We should never do this. If you are a person who stands against injustices like abortion, there is a tendency to stand against it with signs, shouting voices, and mean spirits. Lost in all of this is a genuine concern for women who are contemplating such a major decision. Often, these women are scared and feel alone and alienated and the last thing they need is us shouting at them in anger. Would Jesus be shouting at these women?
Whenever our opposition to the issue become louder than our love for people, we have brought dishonor to our Lord. Just a couple of things to consider next time election day rolls around.