Speaking of Life

Freedom: A Two-Way Street

If we are going to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend freedom to others.

(3.8 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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It's a wonderful blessing to live in a country that values freedom. Freedom, of course, is a two way street. If we are going to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend freedom to others. And that means tolerating the opinions of others, even if we don’t agree with them. One of the ideals the United States was founded upon is the Christian virtue of respecting the right of others to disagree with us. Jesus even taught that we are to love our enemies.

In Matthew 5:43-47 he said,

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? ...And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

It won’t be long before election campaigning will get under way again for senate seats, governorships, and other elected offices, as well as for new laws and taxes. Viewpoints will vary widely and both sides on any given issue or candidate will try to bury its opponents in rhetoric, half-truths, innuendo and often blatant accusations.

What is a Christian to do on Election Day, when he or she wants to reflect Christ in every aspect of their lives? Christians and politics -- it's been thorny relationship throughout history. One thing we know: God does not have a "favorite" political party nor some “divinely chosen” candidate out there somewhere.

The truth is, none of the political parties or candidates is going to solve all the national, state or local problems they promise they’re going to solve. Nor are any of us voters going to solve them by voting for the perfect candidate, because there is no perfect candidate.

At election time, our job is simply to become as knowledgeable about the issues and candidates as we can and then vote as wisely as we can. And when it’s over, regardless of who wins, our job is to pray that the winners will promote peace, justice and freedom.

It’s such a blessing to have the right to vote. But it has little value unless we exercise it. The Bible teaches us to be responsible citizens, and in our democracies, part of being a responsible citizen is to exercise our right to vote. The right to vote goes hand in hand with freedom, as well as helps ensure another cherished right, our right to worship as we see fit.

So we vote as wisely and we can and hope for the best. But regardless of who we vote for and regardless of the job the winner does, our ultimate trust is in our Savior, who in the end makes all things right.

I'm Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.

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