Our political climate is toxic. Our kids are in danger of growing cynical of all political work, and in our country, that would mean that a few powerful people would take control. As Christians, we need to help our kids understand God's plan for nations, and how Christians are to behave as citizens. Teach them these ten principles from Scripture:
1. God established and loves all nations and peoples and ordained that there be a multitude of nations.He told Israel in
Deut. 26:19 –"He will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.” Note that this verse tells us that God made the nations. He did it for a reason.
At the tower of Babel, God made sure that there were many languages. People with common languages formed separate people groups. The groups migrated to different parts of the earth and formed different nations. God sets the nations within their boundaries, and rules over them. This means that God is opposed to a one-world government, at least until Christ comes again.
God loves and saves people from all nations. In heaven, we will worship alongside folks from every nation, language, and tribe. We won't all be Americans in heaven, and that's one reason we have a heritage as a nation of accepting anyone regardless of the country they came from, IF they will submit to the same rules we have established through our constitution.
Teach your child that the nations are set up by God and He has plans for each nation. Teach your child that God loves people from all nations. Our mandate as Christians was given by Christ Himself in Matthew 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…
2. God expects righteousness from a nation, and He is greater than any nation or its laws.
Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. This tells us that one role of government is to make laws that reduce sin, thus it's a lie to say that we can't legislate morality. We absolutely can and must. All laws are rooted in morality.
Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men."
3. God is in control of all government, even when it seems like government is doing evil.
Jeremiah 27:5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me."
Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Daniel 2:21ESV - He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
Matthew 28:18ESV / And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
If I’m honest, I wonder how God can be sovereign, yet allow nations to do such evil around the world. And maybe that’s the big lesson: we can trust God even when we don’t understand what’s going on in our world.
4. God gives authority to government, and no one in government would have any authority if not for God's providence. (Thus, no government official should be arrogant.)
Jesus answered (Pilate, the Roman governor of Israel), “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
In our country, we elect our leaders so their authority is delegated. They need to be humble. They also need to realize that ultimately, God put them in power.
5. We are to submit to the government except when it demands that we sin. We are commanded to honor the emperor, even one we do not agree with. We should work to improve life for all, even in an ungodly culture.
Romans 13:1ESV / 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.
1 Peter 2:13-17ESV / Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.... Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Jeremiah 29:7ESV / But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Our kids need to see us obeying the law and living to improve the lives of all who live in our nation. Seeking the welfare of a heathen culture, like we are in now, also means we do what we can, including voting for the best, most moral candidates. We don't withdraw from the political arena and ignore our opportunities.
6. Pray for those in government. Government is intended to get out of the way of people doing God's will, to provide security and safety so we can spread the gospel.
1 Timothy 2:1-2ESV / First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
God uses government to bring order so that Christians may live in such a way as to witness to the lost world. We have seen recently how intervening in Iraq’s government has created chaos, so our leaders need great wisdom to know when or if they should do that. God’s people have a duty to pray for our leaders.
7. We are commanded to pay our taxes. But government should be a help, not a burden.
Matthew 22:17-21ESV / Trying to trap Jesus, they asked Him...Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.”
Jesus Himself confirms our duty to pay taxes to the government.
2 Chronicles 10:6-8; (after the people had come seeking tax relief...)"then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" They replied, "If you will be kind to them and please them and give a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." But Rehoboam rejected the elders' advice... Rehoboam raised taxes even more, and the people rebelled. There is a limit to the tax burden a people can bear.
8. Individuals, not the government, are commanded to care for the poor. But government is not to burden the poor or make it hard for them to get justice.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11ESV / “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
2 Chronicles 19:6-11ESV / (The king) said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”. ...
9. We are called to choose leaders with good character. God hates falsehoods and lies, so truth is one of the main character traits we should look for in a ruler.
Exodus 18:20-26ESV / Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times...
Deuteronomy 1:13ESV / Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.
Exodus 23:1-33 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.
In these verses and in the verse read previously from 2 Chronicles, God says our leaders should not take bribes. Bribes pervert justice and cloud the judgment of a ruler. Pray that we will have leaders to choose who will reject bribery.
10. Finally, our kids need to be taught to beware of promises that are too good to be true. They are a sign of a wicked ruler. This is why I hate the manipulation that is done through the media. Teach your kids to be discerning of this. The truth is, such manipulation has been around a while, as the story of Absolom confirms:
2 Samuel 15:2-6ESV And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
Christian parent, help your child understand politics in light of God's justice and righteousness, and in light of His love for all people in all nations.