APATHY: The Greatest Enemy of Our Freedom (Part 2)

This is the second and last installment of the article that appeared in last week’s bulletin (borrowed from the “Christian Woman” magazine, written by Debbie Dupuy.)

What Does the Bible Say? One of the most important things we can do for our nation is to be involved in the political process. Why? Because “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” wrote the Psalmist in Psalm 33:12. “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Romans 13:1-4 clearly explains the Christian’s responsibility as a citizen along with the role of the ruling official. According to verse 4, those who govern are God’s ministers for the good of society, and they serve as avengers to execute wrath on those who practice evil. In this country, where we have the unique privilege of choosing our leaders, it is important that we vote for people who will bring about good in our nation rather than uphold what is evil.

Nowhere in the Bible do we find God’s people to be unconcerned with what their government is doing. Nowhere do we find that we are to be indifferent to the candidates and to their beliefs about what is right according to God’s law.

In the book of Esther, we are reminded of a young Jewish girl who stood up for her nation, who stood for what was right – even if it should cost her life – and who believed in the One who could deliver her people. Much like today, evil laws were passed by those in power, and bribes were taken (Esther 3:8-15). Esther’s decision was to get involved! She did not remain silent, and she risked getting involved by going before the king to incite positive change (4:4-17; 5:1-2). We remember Mordecai’s words to her in Esther 4:14: “Yet who knows whether you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?” I believe if Mordecai and Esther were with us today, they would say those same words to us: “You are here at this time in history for such a time as this. Get involved, stand for righteousness, and uphold God’s Law.”

German theologian Martin Niemöller once made this comment about the apathy of German intellectuals in the midst of Nazi power: “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unions, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, but I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.” Niemöller’s remarks remind us of the truth behind the often-quoted adage of Irish politician Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

What Can We Do? (1) We must participate in the process. Register to vote! If you are registered, make sure you vote. It is a privilege and blessing to be able to exercise this freedom. We must remember that “bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote,” according to American magazine editor George Jean Nathan.

(2) Make sure you have the facts and become informed. Ephesians 4:25 exhorts us to “speak truth with [our neighbors], for we are members of one another.” We can become informed about where candidates stand on issues and how their views align with God’s Word. When you are informed, inform others. Do not remain silent!

(3) We must trust God and pray. “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21). Romans 13:1 reminds us that “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

We must never show panic or fear, but lean on God and trust His will. James 5:16 reminds us that the prayers of the righteous produce much. Pray, do not fear. God is in control.

The elections of 2012 are fast approaching, dear fellow Christians. We are needed at this time in our nation’s history to stand apart from the crowd and to speak up when many are telling us to remain silent. Do not be! Appreciate God’s gift of democracy, free speech and voting rights.

Historically speaking, previous democracies have only lasted about 200 years. It seems that after that span of time, people become complacent, take things for granted and are tired of the “rut” they are in. Change seems to be welcome. And there are other ideas and philosophies that play into this. So let us do what is our civic duty. In the end, though, God will allow in this nation what is according to His will and our good; it may not be what we want and expect; so read again esp. Romans 13:1. But we are always expected by God to continue in our Christian walk and do our duty.

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