As we near the end of a very turbulent election cycle we have important decisions to make. The right to vote is the right to choose to whom we will hand the reigns of significant power; a power that impacts real people. How do we prepare our sons for the great responsibilities of voting and of citizenship in general?
Human beings live in community. God designed us this way and cares about how we choose to live within our communities. As a means of helping us live together God also gave us institutions that bear real authority. Scripture identifies three of these institutions: Family, Church, and Civil Government. Because God designed these institutions for our good, it should not surprise us that the Bible has plenty to say about them and ample instructions about the tasks that they are to do and not to do.
To equip our sons to be God honoring members and leaders in all three of these institutions we need to seek to immerse them in all that scripture teaches about these spheres of authority so that they will know how to help promote righteousness at home, at church, and at the ballot box. But as the election looms in front of us how should we be teaching our sons about their role as a Christian citizen?
Develop a heart for renewal
Scripture commands us to pursue righteousness. Unfortunately, we often compartmentalize this objective and relegate it to a focus on personal and family righteousness and we’re less interested in discovering what is right and wrong for government. But followers of Jesus should be transformative in every sphere of life…including matters of public policy because public policy has a real world effect on people that God cares a lot about, especially the weakest members of society.
Principles, Principles, Principles
When it comes to modern politics, it may not seem that the Bible would be a likely place to look for instruction. After all, what does scripture have to say about modern issues like: capital gains taxes, terrorism, poverty, immigration, deficits, or health care? Although some of these terms may not be found in your bible concordance, this doesn’t mean that scripture is silent on these important issues. Much of God’s word teaches and instructs us through precepts and principles. For example, the bible may not explicitly tell us that it is wrong to steal an automobile, but we know that this behavior is wrong because the principle is well supported throughout scripture.
You might be surprised to learn that each of the modern political issues mentioned above are addressed in scripture, either directly or by principle. Our responsibility is to seek and find these biblical tools that will make us better citizens.
Learn along with your children.
We should not assume that we already have all of the answers, and it is hard to teach things that we never learned. Therefore, we need to learn more and then pass this on to our children, inviting them into this process of discover and application along with us.
SOME PRACTICAL STEPS
Have family discussions about how your family will vote
Let your kids see you researching an issue. Let them hear their parents discussing the candidates and issues and especially asking the question “what does God’s Word say about this?”
Take your kids with you to vote
Let them “participate” in the process by going with you to vote. Participating in this way can make the process seem far more real and important.
Don’t put the cart before the horse
Elections are important, but before we can be good voters, we must know the biblical principles of good government. Voting can be counterproductive if we vote unwisely. As fallen humans, we tend to be overconfident in our views.
Don’t be “taken in” by the media circus
The media focuses almost exclusively on the campaign for President. Make sure that your children understand that media attention is not the measure of importance in any area of life, especially politics. From campaigns for House and Senate seats, state and local races, all the way down to local city and school board elections, these are all important and also offer very practical places to teach our children the important role God has called us to as citizens.