This is the first in a series of a study of the proverbs. This study will help us to learn how to succeed in different areas of life, so that we can better serve our cities. Other articles in this series:
This is a brief study from the proverbs about what it means to be a good citizen.
To be honest with you, this is a difficult concept for us as Western, American individualists. The idea of serving your country or serving your city with good citizenship is largely lost on us. To us, the individual gets the focus and the attention for improvement. In most of our minds, if the community benefits, it’s really only a by-product, but not necessary for self-fulfillment. It is how we are raised to think.The idea of serving your #city with good #citizenship is largely lost on us. Click To Tweet
We gotta change our minds on this one, though, because the Bible is very clear that our relationship with our government is very important. Just this study of one book of the Bible (Proverbs) contains enough guidance to show that we must be good citizens in order to truly serve God.
The following list is brief survey of what we have to do to be good citizens.
When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
In America, we get to vote. We live in a democracy/republic, and we get to choose our leaders. This is a luxury that not everyone gets, but in America, we do.
So it is our responsibility to learn everything we can, and vote wisely.
I’ve written more in depth about voting in another article.
Serve Your Neighbors
Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” –
when you now have it with you.
When asking the mayor of Denver what their church could do to help the city government, the mayor told them to “be really good neighbors.”
This is a truth that slaps us in the face, as Americans. Most of us don’t even know our neighbors, let alone serve them.
Read this article for more.
Fight for Justice
The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
That word “justice” is thrown around so often in Christian hipster circles, it may as well be a type of coldpress coffee.
But what we’re talking about is fighting for justice (fairness, dignity, freedom from oppression) for those who can’t fight for themselves – the poor & needy, the homeless, sex slaves, and the like.
We’ve got to fight for them or no one will.
Give Honest Testimony
A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who pours out lies will perish.
This point obviously has to do with honesty in court, when you are officially giving testimony about an legal matter. But it also carries out into our daily lives. We must be honest in all our dealings – in business, in family, in church, in all relationships.
Obey the Government
He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
This proverb is reinforced greatly with the passage in Romans, which says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”
Very clearly, we are to submit to our government.
Serve the Government
He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious
will have the king for his friend.
In the same vein as obeying the government, we should serve them happily with our hearts. Honor our leaders, despite any political ideological differences. Participate in city initiatives. Get to know your representatives in whatever capacity you are able, and become their friends.
He who despises his neighbor sins,
but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
Everyone likes the idea of taking care of the poor, but we really have to put our money where our mouth is. We gotta actually take care of them. Meet urgent needs, whether financial or relational. Many times, the homeless person is isolated from society, and feels very lonely.
Do what you can to tangibly take care of them. It’s not enough to just love them in your heart.
Be Righteous, Do Good
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a disgrace to any people.
As the proverb above states, our righteousness directly impacts our nation.
Alexander de Tocqueville said this: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits, aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Also published on Medium.