It’s hard to be a Christian and an American- or a good one, anyway. The entire deck seems to be stacked against the faithful. Central tenets of Christianity build the foundation of this country and, out of respect, our Founding Fathers made sure Christians would remain free to worship as they wished. Almost everyone is Christian, but the government refuses to budge on the freedom for all religions idea. Government does some very UN-Christian things that Christians would not allow to be done in a Christian nation. But, America is not a Christian nation. It is an every-religion nation.
America, and all nations, would probably be better if they were Christian nations, but, alas, there is money attached to power and many would roll the dice on the afterlife for a good payday today. Real Christians, being Christians, can’t put up much of a fight, for the fear of acting UN-Christian. Their Christian brothers and sisters don’t seem to be worried about acting like Christians as long as they are sure of forgiveness for what every they do. It’s a dilemma.
Some Christians rationalize the inequity of the UN-Christian America by misreading 1 Peter 2:18-19. The passage tells, “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” Perhaps the most ignored passage ever written.
Peter wrote that passage somewhere around 65 AD. At that time in the Roman Empire, slaves were a class in Roman society. They were primarily captives of war, but the competent slaves worked in commerce and government. Go to 1 Peter 2:13 to see Peter’s meaning. He tells one group of people to “…act as free men” [1 Peter 2:16.] Then he addresses the next group, slaves.
In this instance, Peter was addressing Jews who were refusing to obey unbelieving masters. “Slaves” had a necessary place in Roman government. Peter was speaking to a group of people in his society. He was not talking about the relationship America has with her citizens. Neither was he talking about the institution of slavery. Slavery was a given.
It is good to bear up against injustice. It is good to be conscious of God. Just not because God is comfortable with you being a slave or a slave owner. Those are man-made evils.
This is a much easier conversation in America than it would be in most places in the world. I have plenty of time, and GOOGLE, to contemplate this issue. I am not dodging bullets or wondering why the government is starving my children. If I lived in, well, almost anywhere else, I would think Peter was working for the government.
There is another reason why 1 Peter 2:18-19 cannot apply to America’s relationship to her citizens, it is UN-Christian to support a government who is brutalizing its people. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Isaiah 49:25: God’s promise to Zion:
“For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.”
Can good Christians do any less? Do Christians use 1 Peter 2:18-19 to ignore willful government abuses of the innocent? Should good Christians ignore Peter and act against unjust governments?
The uncomfortable “What Would Jesus Do?” dilemma.