A couple of passages have helped our family this week. Maybe it will help others too.
James 1:27 : 2:2-5 : 2:14-16 ~ Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” –, well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith?
Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well” — but you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
However, there is also the issue of authority which the bible also addresses. Written by the Apostle Paul who at the time, was under extreme oppression by Nero, the Emperor of Rome…
Romans 13:1 ~ Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.
Lastly, there are examples of civil disobedience. Peter and John resisted authorities for teaching about Jesus and were put in jail.
Acts 5:29 ~ “We must obey God rather than men.”
Other examples include hiding those in danger from authorities, protection of life against death orders, refusal to worship authority in lieu of God. Ultimately they received blessings for it.
What is the take away from all of this? Love is the ultimate authority over all of us and when in doubt, we are called to act like Christ. We can be confident resisting anything which commands or compels evil. If anything is a direct violation of God’s laws and commands, especially love, we should work in a nonviolent manner together to change any government that permits evil. However if a Christian disobeys evil, unless they can flee, they also need to be prepared to accept punishment. We can pray, petition, vote and peacefully protest.
I do not know all the reasons why government chooses policies or forgoes them. It is our job to educate ourselves which seems to be an ever-changing elusive conglomerate of confusing facts. Which is why is it ever the more important to pray for our country and for other countries. It feels helpless at times but prayer is powerful.
Here is a great link and a tangible way we can help a current humanitarian crisis regardless of what our current laws or actions are doing. It seems small but even a small donation will provide a sleeping bag for a family needing warmth and protection from the cold. Families who have no other place to go.
Small acts of kindness combined together is indeed the only way to great love. My children love this song, love this dance. It is so true.
Loved By Grace,