The General Election has been announced and I am, admittedly, following it with interest. However, I am not going to vote. This may surprise you, but I have good reason to take this course of inaction.
Society needs government to ensure order and prevent anarchy. We even see that God is behind the appointment of governments (Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.).
The rule of government is the establishment of laws which must be obeyed by the society. In the case of democracy it is the imposition of rules by a society upon itself. Such rules only have relevance because of the power behind them – the power of punishment. After all, if there were no punishments then laws would only be suggestions! Ultimately punishment is only enforceable because of the threat of violence to those who do not toe the line. Even if you do something as small as shoplifting the only way they can stop you from walking away free is to use violence against you, in order to apprehend you and then punish you. Violence is only unnecessary when the kindly criminal is happy to co-operate – and if there is no threat of force then the criminal will happily walk free.
I am a pacifist and therefore refuse to participate in physical violence. I see no record of Jesus being physically violent or even encouraging it – in fact he is recorded to have opposed violence.
Christ did not come to free his people from the Roman occupation. There were many injustices in his society and Jesus did not participate in those injustices, he practised justice. However, he did not spend his time trying to force change on society, instead he invited individuals to change. He did not come to set slaves free in the natural sense, only in the ‘real’ sense of setting people free (by opening up the possibility of us a relationship with God).
Christ did not come to establish a moral law in society which everyone would have to abide by. Christ came to establish the law in our hearts, to change us from the inside – he recognised that change could only come from God in our hearts and not by law from the outside. He recognised the failings of ‘The Law’ and came to make the most incredible change in the history of mankind, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Democracy is the idea of finding a common morality to abide by. All members of a democracy are prevented from doing what they want to do – whether that be speeding, murder, being noisy, dropping litter, meeting in large groups etc. Democracy also imposes taxation on the society – money is redistributed according to the democratic choice. I’m not hear to make enemies by forcing people to do my will, or even by forcing people to do God’s will (is that even possible?). I will make enemies if I impose morality on people. Why do you think politicians are widely despised?
We have a tendency to judge how ‘good’ a society is by our own set of human values. ‘Good’ however, is in God’s eyes, not ours. ‘Good’ is only when we do God’s will. People cannot do God’s will by following ‘Christian’ laws, they can only do it by knowing him and loving him. Our mission is to show God’s love to people and be an example of this counter cultural way of life.
I am not going to vote in the elections. I am very happy for society to decide for itself what they want to do, but I’m not here to be part of that system. I am in society, but I hope that I’m not of it.
Vote for God’s love – don’t vote in the elections! Serve, don’t rule.