In my teenage, I used to listened to heavy metal rock bands (no k-pop please!) such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Dream Theather, System of a Down, Rage against the Machine etc. One song in particular that echoed in my mind these few days is by Korn, “Politics’ (Album: See You on the Other Side, 2005). The chorus goes like this:
“Don't want to talk about politics
Don't preach or talk about politics
Don't make me talk about politics
Don't give a sh*t about politics”
So far I’m okay when people are not really excited about what is happening in the world of politics (and politicians) today – there’s still hope. But it concerns me when people harden their hearts by not to bother at-all about it and says casually like Korn's Jonathan Davis, ‘Don’t want to talk about politics!’ Close door and leave – there’s almost no hope. This kind of people won’t even bother to vote, don’t really care about what politicians have to say and not so much respect for what they do.
Yet both kinds of people don’t realize that what happens in the political world today makes a fundamental difference to every aspect of our lives, especially in health, education, taxation, welfare and as in Sarawakians’ (East-Malaysia) context – it involves our land! Therefore, whether you care or not, we all are affected by the way our politicians govern our nation. David Cook writes, “How we are to bring critical, moral reflection on political and economic issues is not just a Christian concern but part and parcel of what it means to be a citizen of our own particular nation and also of the world.”
Thus, for Christians especially, I want to invites you to see this matter in a Christian perspective. Come…
First of all, we should understand that God is concerned with every aspect of human life. That includes – politics. In the Old Testament, initially there was no need for a king, God Himself is a King. His ultimate concern was that justice should be done and all people were protected and able to flourish, the marginalized people should be remembered and taking care of, etc. To cut the story short (read 2 Samuel 8-12 if you’re interested about the story of the beginning of Kingship in ancient Israel), God finally allowed the people of Israel to have a king with a warning that the human kings will be takers, not a giver like Him. He also warned them of the dangers of politic power abuse and over time He appointed prophets to remind kings of God’s laws and will. As long as the kings follow His guidance, they will prosper and the nation will be prospering too. In a sense, if they don’t, the nation will also pay the price of their king’s disobedience.
In the New Testament, some Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking ‘politic’ questions, ‘Now tell us – is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them or shouldn’t we?’ Jesus answered them by asking them a counterfeit question, he was holding a Roman coin, ‘Whose picture and title are stamped on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. ‘Well, then,’ Jesus said, ‘give to Caesar what belong to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God’ (Mark 12:13-17NLT). With this, Jesus was (is) telling us that we all have obligations to the human government and to God. After all, God want us to ‘respect all human authority – whether the king as the head of state, or the officials he has appointed’ (1 Peter 2:13NLT). In short, we ought to respect and submit to governing authorities as long as (in my opinion) they didn’t impose laws or commands that are against God’s Word on us.
In both the Old and the New Testament and at all time, God is very much involves in politics of the nations. In the same way, we should be concern for those in authority. It is our responsibilities to be involve in national building because the politicians that we support (or vote for) will affect every aspect of our lives. We got to ensure even with our limited human power to elect men and women of good character to take the lead in our nation. Add to that; we should pray for them.
I’m fully aware and with all my heart – believe that God is Sovereign and in control, BUT it doesn’t mean that we ought to neglect our responsibilities as citizen of the earth. We cannot afford to be ignorance and say “I don’t want to talk about politic!”... It is like saying, ‘Whatever happen to the nation I don't care as long as I’m okay.’ That’s selfish! How can we still be comfortable to say that we’re a Christian but didn’t follow the command of Jesus to ‘give to Caesar what belong to Caesar’? As long as you live on this planet called EARTH – you ought to care about politic!
Let me close, David Cook explained it well on what it means to be salt and light to the world in the context of politics today, ‘is to ensure that the political processes do fulfill God’s intention of retraining evil and reinforcing what is good.’
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.