In a time when our nation seems increasingly divided, there may never have been a greater need for the unity that the Christian faith produces than now.
Jesus, when questioned by the religious leaders of His day, instructed His followers to give to God what is His and to give to the government what was theirs. In ancient Palestine, there was only one kind of government: despotism. For most of the world today, little has changed. From Asia to Africa, and the Middle East to South America tyrants and dictators rule over people who, like the people Jesus spoke to on that day in Jerusalem, live in fear of their government.
As Americans, we have been afforded a unique opportunity. Our opportunity is one that many of us overlook, and it is one that billions of people around the world and throughout history will never get to experience. It is the opportunity of self-governance; it is the opportunity to help shape and impact the domestic and foreign policies of our local, state and federal governments. As a freedom loving organization, we understand the significance of this responsibility. We understand the responsibility to vote and to be informed; we understand the responsibility of defending Christian values and the ideals of conservatism to preserve a moral, vibrant and free society for our children.
While we understand this responsibility, not all of us have the time to really think about what that responsibility looks like or how we would explain it to someone if we were asked.
So, here for your use is a handy list of 5 reasons why Christians should be active in the public square.
1. We Have a Civic Responsibility
As a Millennial, I can tell you that within my generation and with the younger people growing up today the understanding of civic responsibility (citizenship) has been almost completely replaced with the concept of social responsibility. The weighty problems of poverty, war and inequality should be addressed, but not to the detriment of realizing that we have a responsibility to serve our God, our country and our fellow man. One of the ways we express citizenship is by engaging in the public square. We can and should engage in politics, as part of the solution. We should also include volunteering in youth programs at public schools, leading bible studies in jails or prisons, mentoring teens and young adults, preparing meals for needy families in the community and the list goes on and on.
2. We Can Help Foster Spiritually Healthy Communities
As a student of Political Science and Religious Studies, I have tended to focus my academic energies on the national and international arenas of politics. The one big truth that I have learned in the course of my studies is that nearly all problems, no matter how big they seem, can only be effectively treated at the local level. All of us have seen the problems our country has faced over the last few years, but whether it’s government corruption, racial conflict, abortion or whatever else, the answer is not an top-down solution. What we need are dynamic communities of believers working together to be the hands and feet of Jesus, lovingly living out the principles of His word in their local communities.
Perhaps one of the best examples of the last few years was the response of our brothers and sisters at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. While extremist groups of protesters came in and attempted to destabilize the situation afterward, the grace of Jesus shone through the pain of the family and friends of those lost and, for a moment, it shook the nation.
3. Our Communities and our Nation Need Intercession
Simply put, intercession is the act of praying on behalf of others. Intercession itself is a public activity. Throughout the Bible we see the prophets and apostles interceding for those in the family of God. The Bible also tells us to pray for our governing leaders: the President, the Congress, the Governor, State Representatives, Mayors, City and County Councilors all need us to pray for them as they make decisions that will affect our lives. Our communities also need us to be active in praying against the wickedness of things like abortion and the adult entertainment industries. In the Old Testament God promised, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
4. Our Communities and our Nation Need us to be Watchmen
In the ancient world, when cities were fortified with large walls for protection, men would be designated as watchmen. They would patrol the walls all day and all night watching for signs of danger. If one of them saw a threat approaching they would sound the alarm and muster the city to prepare and take action. In our post-modern society, many people don’t recognize the dangers or consequences of our choices and actions. As Christians, we are needed more than ever to be the light in the darkness surrounding our communities and our families. They need us to sound the alarm when we see danger approaching so that our communities can prepare and act accordingly. This is the core mission here at Palmetto Family.
5. Our Communities Need Someone to Speak for the Least Among Us
In the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself by quoting the prophet Isaiah saying that God had set Him apart to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. As we strive to be more like Jesus in our own lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our towns and cities, we need to take up the cause of Jesus to speak for those whose voices are not heard: the unborn, the prisoner, the widow, the orphan and the poor.
In a time when our nation seems increasingly divided, there may never have been a greater need for the unity that the Christian faith produces than now. As the darkness grows darker, the light must shine brighter. It’s the light of Christ shining in the individual, which illuminates the community, which can illuminate the city and spread outward as it is joined with the lights of other believers actively striving to fulfill the mission of Jesus all around us.
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