“...that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”—Philippians 3:8-9, NIV1984

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is It Good for Christians to Assert Their Rights?

Is it more "spiritual" and good to be passive when unbelievers oppose your government-protected rights and your ability to assert them and accomplish your god-given work? Or is it better to assert your rights and what is good and potentially make enemies, as much as you should be loving and tactful and do you best to win over your enemies with love? I don't think Nehemiah (nor God for that matter) would answer "yes" to the former question. I think God would answer "yes" to the latter question, and I will explain my rationale.

Many in the Church have a view of our responsibility in our world as only being "spiritual" and only working in the shadows of society. They believe that God forbids us from asserting our rights or influencing civil laws.

There are times when it is wise not to assert our rights, especially when this would hinder a potentially long-lasting relationship with individuals whom we could win to Christ, like neighbors who insist on violating noise ordinances.

Yet, when it comes to rights, I see a difference between individuals and groups. For a group of good people to concede their god-given, government-protected rights to a group of evil people is to ultimately hate those people and our posterity by allowing evil people to shape public policy and redefine "justice." When this happens, who suffers the most? Is it not the poor, the orphans, and the widows who suffer the most? Is it not those who should receive the hope of the gospel, but now can't because, we have lost our freedoms of speech and religion? We must be wise leaders like Nehemiah and act responsibly and lovingly to influence our society for good and not for evil. We must try to win our enemies by radically loving them, but we must not concede to their evil.

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