By: Stephen Geiger, Legal Intern, Liberty Center for Law & Policy
Over the past couple of weeks it has become nearly impossible to go anywhere or watch or read any news without encountering talk of the government shutdown. People from all walks of life and differing worldviews lament the fact that the members of the federal government have struggled so mightily to find a way to settle their differences for the good of the nation.
The two parties that are largely in control of our system of government have fundamentally different philosophies about how to run the country. These differences have led to the all out war we now see in Congress. Several weeks went by with little or no negotiations. Instead of trying to meet in the middle with the overarching goal of doing what is best for the citizens of our country, our leaders have over time moved farther away from a solution for selfish reasons.
Even as a solution has been reported it really only involves an agreement to procrastinate and put this problem off for a few months. Although there has been a declaration of victory and claims that a crisis has been averted, everyone knows that this is simply wishful thinking at best.
All of the highly publicized drama in Washington, D.C. furthered a nationwide distrust of our government in general. Pollsters are finding that more than half of Americans disapprove of job our President is doing in handling this crisis. That percentage of disapproval is above or beyond two thirds of those questioned on their feelings about Congress. These same polls find that the number of those who are disgruntled with our leaders’ job performance continues to rise each week.
This particular situation is only a sample of all that ails our country. Our government has legalized or granted approval to practices such as abortion while placing limits on the role of God and the Bible in our public society. Besides the government, our culture widely accepts immoral lifestyles and actions.
Many of the problems in our country originated because churches and families abdicated their Biblical roles. Once the church of Jesus Christ stopped influencing culture in a positive way and doing the work of God, the country at large (especially unbelievers) began to turn away from morality.
Many in our country today view the church as hypocritical because they perceive them as condemning sinners while not lifting a finger to save them and at the same time excusing their own sin.
Although Christians are called to be active in government and the community, we cannot forget that our only true hope lies in God. Psalm 47:8-9 says: “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.”
The current state of our country should remind all Christians of the futility of trying to continue on without God. Until we each cast all of our hope on God and then wholeheartedly pursue his directives, we cannot expect the country or the government at large to change.
The Christian Response
So how should we as Christians respond to the many problems that we see in our current government?
- Pray: Our first responsibility is to pray for our leaders that they will seek the Lord and submit to His law and principles above all else. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) No man or woman or manmade system can save our country unless those in leadership are looking to our true Lord and King for guidance. Psalm 2:10-11 warns, “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear.”
- Serve: However, we don’t have to stop with only prayer; there are many practical ways that the church and the family can influence our government and our communities through spreading the redeeming love of Christ. They must embrace their God given roles and tirelessly do the sometimes thankless work of caring for the less fortunate. (James 1:27)
- Stand: Finally, at times God’s people are called to speak out for what is right and to no longer be complacent parties to the perversion of the truth. It can be daunting to face a hostile world when one is committed to defending the truth. It is much easier for us to fit in with the world and take the path of least resistance. However, no earthly rewards can substitute for God’s calling upon the church and each believer.
In the Old Testament, God called his prophets to declare the truth to the leaders and the peoples of their countries. They followed these instructions to the point of being persecuted and even killed. God said to the Israelites in Jeremiah 26:7: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you… and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”
Christians must take stands for morality and God’s law through example as well as words. 1 Timothy 4 charges believers to be devoted to living out the Word of God for the sake of those in our circles of influence.
As we pursue God and spread His message of love and truth to a nation that desperately needs it, we can take great hope in the promises of God. Psalm 2 reminds us that although the nations rage and the people conspire against the Lord’s anointed, He laughs at them for He alone is in control.
Furthermore, God promises that although the fight will be hard, He will never abandon us, “They will seize you and persecute you. They will… put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.” (Luke 21:12-15, 17-19)