Civil Responsibility

Civil Responsibility

Exploration of the Civic responsibility a follower of Christ has to the society in which he or she lives.

Proud to be an American Toby Keith

I hope you had a great time celebrating our nation’s day of declaring independence from England. July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence is an explanation of this decision to form a new nation. These great words birthed the land in which we live today:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

About 10 years later the Constitution was finally ratified by the 13 original colonies, now States. The first 10 Amendments are called the Bill of Rights. These rights were fought over so that there would be a guarantee to the citizens of the new Nation that the government would not have the power to squash individual liberty.

Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
Right to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia.
Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
No quartering of soldiers.
Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double
Rights of accused persons, e.g., right to a speedy and public trial.
The right of trial by jury in civil cases.
Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
Other rights of the people, not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Powers reserved to the states that have not been granted to the Federal

These rights were exactly what the British Empire denied the people who eventually became Americans. Would you believe that 95% of High School and College students don’t know this when they have completed their studies?  The foundations of these United States are strong. But ignorance of your history and heritage dooms us to tyranny.

The 4th of July celebration is a time of coming together as a nation and rejoicing in freedoms our ancestors fought and died for. We live in a great nation. A nation that allows us to address our grievances, to voice them, to put them in print, and thus right wrongs, like slavery, segregation, inequality and other forms of injustice.

Never before in our history has the nation been so polarized.  Every issue is now politicized. The reason issues have become so divisive today is because opposing ideas produce campaign dollars and votes to keep elected officials in office. Opposing ideas are reduced to sound bites, and demonization of the other, leading to hate and violence. People are not thinking through issues, thinking is too hard. It’s easier to agree with the thought of my favorite celebrity. So people grab a slogan, cliques, and point a finger, but never offer a plan on how to resolve a problem.  If a plan is presented it’s loaded with special interests, enriching one group at the expense of another. Worse a plan that might work is denounced because my side didn’t come up with it first.

For instance: gun control. Every shooting incident becomes a scream for one side to remove all firearms from the citizenry. To which the other side screams “the only way you’ll take my gun from me is when you pry it from my cold dead hands.” The solutions are either, or. No middle ground. No one can reason when everyone is screaming.  

For instance: the selection of a new supreme court justice will be reduced to a sound bite—will that new justice support or oppose a woman’s reproductive rights? That’s all you will hear from one side, promoting fear, in order to produce political capital to wield power. It is an emotionally charged issue with each side pulling heartstrings to garner support.

For instance: immigration. One side wants open borders, anyone who wants to come to America should be allowed in. The other side says no, to preserve our way of life entry must be regulated. The result: insanity. E Pluribus Unum, the founders said: from many, one. From that simple idea flows the wonderful and distinctively American idea of the melting pot, where everyone is welcome as long as they sign up to America’s values and precepts: that they become Americans. That American idea is in jeopardy today. 

For Instance: Antifa is a group opposed to anything that Conservatives support, anything that Republicans support, and are often violent in their protests. The other side is not innocent either, James Fields rammed his car into a crowd of protesters who wanted to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. Violence begets violence in a continuing cycle of misery that ultimately results in nothing accomplished but increasing hate.

For Instance: News outlets no longer report the news, they have become news commentators promoting the agenda of their CEO’s. You can’t assume you’re getting both sides of a story, that you are hearing and viewing objective reporting. Where did you hear that? FoxNews? MSNBC? Trust No One, is advice to be heeded in the current cultural climate. No elite tells the truth. that thought is like yeast causing us to question anyone in authority.

Civil discourse has become rude, civility has left the building, leaving only people fighting for their positions instead of working together to solve issues. This behavior is clearly seen in the conduct of our elected officials. Gridlock and name calling just create extremism.  I fear we are headed for another Civil War.

How is a Christian to respond to all this? There are Christ-followers who are conservatives and who are liberals. There are Christ-followers who are Democrats and who are Republicans; little Christs who are for and little Christs who are against.  Among the disciples of Jesus are some of the most loving, compassionate, active people I have ever met.  Among the disciples of Jesus are some of the most arrogant, ambitious, jerks I have ever met. How do you live like a Christian, a little Christ, a follower of Jesus, a disciple today? We need to look to our standard, the Bible, for the answer. Consider where the scripture reveals our loyalties lay:

Hebrews 13:13-14 (MSG) & 14 (NLT) & Philippians 3:20 (NIV)
“So let's go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This "insider world" is not our home.” “…this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” “..our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

A believer is no longer a citizen of these great United States of America. A believer has a heavenly citizenship and if you happen to be born or legally immigrated to this country, the USA is where you live. Can you wrap your thinking around this truth? You live in America, but God has called you out; made you His own; made you part of a royal family; allowed you to become His servant.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) & 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT)
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

I’m proud to be an American. I made a vow  “that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” I have never been released from that affirmation. I pledge allegiance to “one nation, under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” I am a Christ follower, a devoted disciple of Jesus, part of His Church, part of His body in which He is the head and His calling is to take the opportunity this country offers and proclaim the gospel. My true citizenship is in heaven. I’m a Christian first and an American second.

When we study Jesus in the gospel testimonies the most truthful thing I can say about politics and Jesus is that He was politically incorrect. Jesus spoke a prophetic word, not a political one. He was a truth teller. “Jesus didn’t care about politics; He cared about people. His love for little children is clear. His regard for women is well-documented. When He saw someone in need, He stopped what He was doing and responded with compassion. He treated everyone with dignity, no matter their choices or circumstances.” (Richard Stearns)
“Jesus was clear about priorities. When religious leaders tried to trap him with questions about the law, he boiled it down for them – and for us: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments’ (Matthew 22:36-40). ( Richard Stearns)
 “The parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesus’ timeless lesson on who our neighbor is: anyone in need.” (Richard Stearns)
 So what would Jesus say concerning the right to bear arms? What would His teaching be on the unborn child? What would He counsel regarding immigrant families arriving at our border or refugees seeking safe haven? What would is approach be towards different races and religions? How would He encourage the nation to deal with disadvantaged children in the U.S. those lacking basic necessities, the homeless, the mentally ill? How would he deal with men and women of violence, their hate speech and viciousness, and the spinning of news?
 “These are complicated issues. [In an attempt to formulate an answer I am certain that] following Christ means rooting our response in love – love for God and love for people…” (Richard Stearns) The definition we must constantly remember is that love is treating everyone with respect, seeking to meet their need as the opportunity arises even at the cost of a personal sacrifice, regardless of feelings.  Love meets needs. Christians are the people who love.
 “We have to remember that the church and the government have very different roles. The government’s job is to help prosper and protect citizens, while the church’s job is to demonstrate love for all people.” (Richard Stearns) “God expects us to engage in [the social ills of the nation] – not to embrace politics but to speak out biblically to our political leaders.” (Richard Stearns) We speak for Christ. Our responsibility as called out ones is to be a voice for Kingdom values. Each little Christ must choose “biblical correctness over political correctness.” (Richard Stearns) We speak for Christ. It’s not your party affiliation that dictates your views; it’s your prophet vocation.  “Wield spiritual power rather than political power.” (Richard Stearns) We speak for Christ. Speak the truth in love. Then allow the citizens of the State to decide how they are to govern.
In a nation divided, ours is the message of unity, of human dignity, of meeting the needs of people. It is the right of the citizens of these United States to pursue Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s your right as a citizen of the Kingdom to live your life to the full.
 God Bless America, Sandi Patti
 God can only bless America through you. In a nation divided on seemingly every issue, the disciple is to speak the message of unity, of human dignity, of meeting the needs of people. It is the right of the citizens of these United States to pursue
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s your duty as a citizen of the Kingdom to live your life to the full. In doing so you bring the prophetic truth of Jesus Into these United States.
 Think prophetically. Not politically. Give voice to Kingdom values. Remember you are a Christian with citizenship in heaven who just happens to live in the United States of America
America the Beautiful  Ray Charles


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