This week we will start a new series on what might be termed ‘options’ and ‘option drivers’. What can we as Christian citizens do to impact the direction our nation is taking? Just as a ship’s captain must judge his situation when he realizes he has by some means ended up in shoal waters and decide what he must do to extricate himself from a potential disaster, we as citizens must be able to recognize when our nation is in trouble and know the options we must explore to determine a way out. As Christians we know that God is eventually in charge but do we want to just ask God to ‘fix it’ and then plan to do nothing on our part? Is that the way ‘fixes’ worked in the Bible? In past weeks we’ve had pointed out to us the situation we are now in and seen that this was not the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
In Judges 9:8-15 a situation is described in a parable. The bottom line of this parable is that if good men refuse to serve as national leaders, the people will be stuck with bad leaders. Significantly, when competent and qualified God-feari! ng citizens refuse to run for office, the people get corrupt leaders, which causes good people to say,”Politics is corrupt. I want nothing to do with such a wicked system!” But the very reason that politics becomes wicked and corrupt is because good people refuse to run! Exodus 18:21 helps us to identify a good candidate
- First, the candidate must be an “able” person – competent and qualified for the position. There is not much worse than having an incompetent individual preside over any area of life, and this is especially true in the area of civil government.
- Second, he/she must”fear” God – have a personal relationship with God that produces a life of honesty, integrity, purity, and holiness.
- Third, he/she must love the truth; otherwise, he/she will become closed minded to sound counsel and won’t listen to correction or rebuke. He/she will therefore become arrogant, stubborn, and hard-headed, frequently barreling down the wrong path.
- Fourth, he/she must “hate dishonest gain”, not only loathing corruption but also despising fraudulent perks that might be offered to him/her as a result of his/her position.
Individuals displaying these four character traits are to be chosen for leaders at the local,! county, state, and federal levels (“tens”, “fifties”, “hundreds”, and “thousands”). The Founding Fathers knew that the best leaders were not those who promoted themselves for a position but rather those who had been recruited by their neighbors. Why then is government held in such low esteem nowadays?
Because of America’s changing values, we have become less conscious and supportive of facilitating the well-being of others and of preserving historical habits and customs. Not only is there a disturbing lack of knowledge about the most elementary facts concerning the civic sphere, but also participation in exercising what was once considered the most sacred privilege of an American (the right to elect our own leaders) has tumbled. More than nine out of ten residents of the United States who are eighteen or older have the right to vote. Less than three out of every four register to do so. One out of four doesn’t both to cast a ballot [US Census Bureau, “Table 2: reported Voting and Registration, by Race, Hispanic Origin, Sex, and Age for the US: November 2012”]. In the 2012 presidential election, nearly ninety million adults who were qualified to vote made a conscious decision not to participate. Our nation is regularly being led by men/women who have the backing of less than one third of the adult population. Seven out of eight Americans do not vote for those who become their governors, senators, and representatives. Only a majority of the one fourth who choose to vote select our leaders. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, had a ‘landslide’ victory with 2.6% of the total population voting for him. Is it any wonder that this nation is in trouble?
When the churches do not encourage voting and Christians treat political involvement as something outside of the realm of religion, we get all sorts of secular laws to complain about. If the captain of our ship finds it in shoal waters and he doesn’t bother to refer to the sea charts (voter guides) available, he may very well be the author of his own destruction. Have we found ourselves with a ‘captain’ that is still asleep, while the crew of the ‘ship of state’ runs about totally clueless concerning the situation or how to attain safety? Next week we will take a look at what happens to a nation that finds itself ‘leaderless’. It’s been a plague throughout Biblical times and still extends into this day. Dictators thrive on it.
– Bob Munsey
“Peace is not the ability to ignore what is going on around us”. – B. Munsey