What Do We Owe Our Political Neighbor?
As we pulled into the gravel driveway my youngest son asked if the owner of the house was even a Christian. He asked because the cabin we rented for a long fall weekend had a yard sign out front for a different candidate other than the one my nine-year-old thought we should be voting for.
It’s funny what my kids bring home from school regarding politics. This weekend, in light of election being called for former Vice President Joe Biden, the same son asked me, “Is he going to take away our religion?” I answered, “No, son, no one can take away our faith.” “But he is going to take away our guns!” he responded. “We don’t have any guns,” I said. “Oh,” said he.
How are Christians to behave in the midst of a political firestorm that causes even fourth graders such consternation? The Apostle Paul writes to such situations:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:1-8, ESV)
You owe your neighbor something. Yes, even that neighbor with a yard sign that contradicts your political position. You are indebted to them. You owe them love.