Many are asking on what should be the attitude of Christians with regards to our government. This is a good question because it acknowledges the reality that a Christian is both a citizen of the state and also a member of the church.
There are many passages that we could use to answer the question but we can always go back to Jesus Christ who is our prime example. Jesus lived in a time when Israel was under the Roman Empire. He faced the officials of the empire and also officials of Israel.
What are the things that Jesus would like us to remember when facing our government?
First, like Jesus, we should confront the corruption of the government officials.
There were two tax collectors who were confronted by Jesus Christ. One is Levi who became Matthew and became one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. The other one is Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector.
In the encounter of Jesus with Zacchaeus, we can see that Jesus showed compassion to the Chief Tax Collector. Everyone hated Zacchaeus, not just because he was appointed by the Roman Empire, but because he was corrupt and cheated people.
Jesus has forgiven Zacchaeus but He did not condone what he has done. Zacchaeus paid back four times the amount the he cheated to people.
In the same manner, the Christians of today should be like Jesus Christ. We should confront the corrupt officials so that they will acknowledge their sins and make retributions to what they had done.
Second, like Jesus, we should make the officials accountable to what they are doing.
In Matthew 23, Jesus uttered the Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. If you read it very closely and feel the words of Jesus, you can actually feel the righteous anger of the Lord.
Try to change the tone of your voice as you read the following verses found Matthew 23:27 to 28 and you can feel how it was said and how it was received. See it from the perspective of Jesus, and from the perspective of the Pharisees also — “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Jesus did not mince words. He said it with conviction. This was one of the reasons why they plotted to kill him. Jesus did not recant from His words. Matthew later on had the courage to write it down because it was true.
Later, one Pharisee was convicted and became the greatest missionary of all time – Saul who became Paul.
So, as Christians, we must hold accountable the officials of the land. Like Jesus, people may not like what we will say but we have to say it because that is what Jesus would want us to do.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University