The last two months have seen our country go through the intensity of a Lok Sabha election. I cannot remember another election fought so viciously, further aggravated by the power of social media where information true and untrue spread unchecked. Sadly, the level of discourse often deteriorated to abuses and mudslinging, with fake news adding fuel to the fire.
How should a Christian respond to all that takes place during an election? How should we view government? Here are a few thoughts from the Bible that are instructive for us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Trust the sovereignty of God
In Romans 13:1 Paul writes, that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” This was written to the church in Rome living under the all-powerful Caesar, the ruler of the most dominant empire in the world at that time.
Six hundred years earlier Daniel praises God with these words in Daniel 2:21, “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding…” Daniel was a slave and subject of the powerful and dominant Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar.
When the mighty Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by the LORD he himself blesses the Most High saying, “…for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’” Daniel 4:34, 35
As Christians in India we ought to trust God’s sovereignty over the government of our country. Whoever governs this great land of India, is under the mighty hand of God and “none can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’”
Be subject to the governing authorities
One way we demonstrate our faith in God is by being “subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). This is what Paul says before he tells us that every authority has been instituted by God. Our submission to authority, is a reflection and evidence of our submission to God. Peter also spoke of this in 1 Peter 2:13 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme…”
What does it look like, practically speaking, to be subject to governing authorities? Here are few points for your consideration:
- Disagree respectfully: In a democracy we are given the right to express ourselves and to question government. This is a valuable tool that God has given us to influence government for the good of the people. However, we must use it in a way that is respectful of authority. We can always use decent and non-violent ways to show our disagreement and to ask for change.
- Do not bear false witness: With all the “fake news” going around, particularly through social media, it is very important for Christians to speak truth and refrain from spreading false information. It would be good to check the source of the information before sending it out. It important that we do not create false narratives to heighten sensitivities and create hysteria. Truth matters!
- Keep the law: In disagreeing with the authorities, we should be careful not to break the law. India is a country that has a strong Constitution and laws that are good and do not violate God’s law. We must be careful to keep them. 1 Peter 2:15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.”
Pray for the government
Paul in writing to Timothy, the pastor of the Church at Ephesus wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1–3, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…”
Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. He wrote, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon…seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:4, 7).
As followers of Christ, we are called to pray for the welfare of our cities and the country we live in. We are called to pray for the government and the authorities. We are to ask God for His blessing and favour on the land and on those who govern, so that all people can live peaceful, quiet and dignified lives.
Make it a practice to pray daily for our government, our Prime Minister, our Chief Minister, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the President and all those who serve our nation through government. Pray for the Judiciary, the Police and the Armed forces. Pray for the unity of India once these elections are done!
Let us never give up interceding for our great nation of India and seek God’s blessing on this land.
In 1919, Rabindranath Tagore translated the national anthem into English. It was originally written by him in 1911 in Bengali . The words are profoundly meaningful and relevant for our country today as we think about God and our government.
Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
Dispenser of India’s destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Odisha and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of Vindhya and the Himalayas,
Mingles in the music of Ganga and Yamuna
and is chanted by the waves of the Indian sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
Thou dispenser of India’s destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to Thee.