Render Unto Caesar

ProLifeCorner –  By Larry Plachno –   Should government and leaders set aside good and evil, and take away religious liberty? This is one of the more pressing questions facing Christians in America today. Our government and leaders seem to feel that “anything goes” and that good and evil are old fashioned. Hence, we are faced with conflicts on abortion, marriage and other things between government mandates and our Christian morals. In many cases it is obvious that the traditional morals, and not the absence of good and evil, is the best thing for society.

This question is not something new to our generation and has been around for thousands of years. If you read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke you will see that Jesus Christ was questioned by some people trying to trip him up on paying taxes. As was typical of Him, Jesus provided a very logical answer.

He asked to see a Roman coin and questioned whose likeness and inscription were on the coin. They replied “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus told them to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. While some people think that this is a comment on paying taxes, it really tells us that we should look to government and God for different things.

The obvious conclusion is that we should look to government for defense and for roads and similar items. But we should look to God for morals.

Back to Basics

When faced with an action or decision that could impact others, we have two choices. We can be unselfish and do what is best for other people and society. Or, we can do what we want regardless of whom we harm.

God sent His Son to suffer and die to atone for our sins. Hence, good and evil has a top priority with God. Jesus Christ gave us two rules to live by; love of God and love of neighbor. We love God when we judge our actions as good or evil. We are a follower of Jesus Christ when “good” means what is best for other people and society. This is why the basic definition of a Christian is someone who has a high concern for others.

Putting others first and working with others is simple logic. We all come out ahead when we work together for common goals. But society starts to fall apart and have problems when we argue and cannot agree on good and evil.

What is interesting is that the need to evaluate our actions as good or evil and to work with and do what is best for other people and society, as put forward by Jesus Christ, is confirmed and endorsed by modern computer-generated reports and statistics on social problems. The reason is obvious. Society works much like a team. A basic definition of society is a group of people who are working together for common goals. When we put ourselves first or if we don’t do what is best for society, then we have problems. While this should be basic logic, it seems to be missed by many people.

Hence, the Christian concept of good and evil is not based on who we are but on what we do. A team can be composed of many different people with wide ranging backgrounds and differences. What makes them a team is their willingness to work together for the good of the team rather than doing what they want.

Governments and Leaders

All of this brings us back to the original thought about governments and leaders setting aside good and evil while ignoring religious liberty and morals. I have seen research that insists that democracies where people can exercise their religious liberty and morals do not start wars and do not have wars with each other. While there are some obviously questionable examples, the basics seem to be pretty much true.

However, on the other end, governments and leaders that set aside good and evil while ignoring religious liberty and morals have caused the major atrocities on our earth. In most cases, these actions were directed at specific groups – not unlike the current killing of the unborn.  One source claims that in the 20th Century, more than 160,000,000 – yes more than 160 million people – were killed by government action. This does not include the ones that may have been harmed but were still alive.

At various times in various locations, people were more likely to lose their life from government action and laws than from any kind of illness or disease. Some of the researchers are calling this democide. In many of these cases we have to ask whether the religious liberty and morals of the people were right all along.

Religious Liberty and Morals

Here are some interesting examples comparing a lack of good and evil in decisions with religious liberty and morals.

Many people may not be aware that slavery was legal in the United States at one time. The slaves were counted as three-fifths of a citizen for census purposes. However, some people retained their religious liberty and morals. They helped the anti-slave movement with the Underground Railroad and eventually the Civil War. The Civil War was intended to eliminate treating one group as less than human but we were faced with that again with the Holocaust in World War II and today with unborn babies.

A similar situation developed with Jews and political prisoners during World War II. Some people retained their religious liberty and morals and helped these people either to hide or escape. Once again the question was whether one particular group should be treated as less than human . . . as is the case with unborn babies today.

Today, there is a question over traditional marriage. The statistics show that marriage is good for society because it reduces poverty, reduces homelessness and reduces crime. Why then should a government want to reduce marriage by eliminating the family wage? Marriage is important for a healthy society. Even the ancient Roman leaders knew this and tried to encourage marriage to prevent their civilization from falling apart.

We can also talk about abortion. Like slavery and the Holocaust, legal abortion is a government movement against one particular group. Apparently we never learned our lesson with slavery and the Holocaust. Fortunately, people with morals are still standing up for good over evil while government is trying to take away our religious liberty in regard to abortion and other things.

Asking the Right Questions

What becomes obvious is the need to ask the right questions in the first place. This is just plain, ordinary logic but too many people (and governments) ignore it.

The primary question is whether good and evil exist? If you say “no,” then there is no use going any further. There is no need for laws and courts because “anything goes.”

The second question is whether you define “good” as what is best for others and society? If your answer is “no,” then murder, selling drugs to kids and shooting guns in school become acceptable.  Again, if we can do anything we want regardless of whom we hurt, then why do we need laws and courts?

What a lot of people do not realize is that governments that have set aside good and evil tend to look at people for what they are while Christians look at people for what they do. Christians separate the sin from the sinner. I think we can safely say that when Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the temple, he still loved them but was unhappy with what they were doing. Likewise, if an abortionist gives up doing abortions (as many have one), they will probably be welcomed into the Christian community.

This contrasts with how governments look at things if they sets aside good and evil. Slaves, Jews and unborn babies were singled out not because of what they did but because of what they are.

Jesus Christ admonished us to love God and love our neighbor.   It all comes back to a need to judge your actions, to work together and to put others first. Any time that good and evil are set aside, we have problems.

Editors Note:   Larry Plachno is a successful businessman, publisher, author, and composer of an incalculable number of articles relating to family, life issues and associated problems and solutions. This barely scratches the surface of what Larry really is. His love of God, family and country is inspiring.

For years now Larry has shared his writings with us here at the ProLifeCorner and we are truly humbled by his generosity.

Larry is also an ardent blogger and is a prolific writer.  You can follow his work at:    www.unselfish.org

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