Monday, September 27, 2010

You and Me and The HST

1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,  (1 Tim 2:1-3)

I've been thinking about an appropriate Christian response to the HST.  On the one hand, I understand the anger that exists because of the way this tax was introduced.  At least one MLA has dubbed it the 'Hated Sales Tax', which at the very least is probably a reasonable assessment.  That said, I'm also very troubled when I see/hear fellow believers expressing their hatred of the government because of this tax.  Perhaps I'm idealistic but it seems to me that the Church has a responsibility to rise to something higher than simply being swept along with the masses in their outrage.

I understand that no one, me included, likes or wants to pay more taxes.  That said, I'm also very aware that we have a clear mandate to pray for those who are in authority over us. I don't think it's possible to honestly pray for people you hold in contempt. I also don't think it's possible to speak negatively in strong terms against those you are genuinely praying for.  Something happens to us when we legitimately stand in the gap for other people and we are changed in the way we feel about them.

We need to learn to separate politics from politicians.  Politics is the art or science of governing.  Politicians are the people who serve within the system.  It's okay to disagree with a political decision or direction.  You can even vote against it or against the person who implemented it.  However, its not okay to make your disagreement personal in the sense that your heart is bitter and your comments become derogatory.

I think it's important for us to recognize the context in which Paul wrote 1 Tim.  The Jews were living under Roman occupation.  The Romans were hardly noted for their compassionate touch towards those they had conquered.  The people were oppressed.  Their taxes were shipped off to Rome to further the ambitions of the empire.  Those who opposed the government were put to death or had to hide in the wilderness.  It's within this context that Paul encourages Timothy (and us...) to pray for those who are in authority over us. 

My challenge to you today is simple.  We have a greater role than simply settling for the status quo of the masses.  We alone hold the mandate to pray for our government.  Let's get back to doing the one thing that matters most. Our entire province will benefit as a result.


Anonymous said...

That's the biggest bunch od BS I've ever read and I don't appologize for speaking my mind Tim. I love ya but I think your completely wrong on this subject. Although I do agree that we should pray for our government, I also believe that our government should do the same when it comes to making decisions regarding the HST and I truely believe that had or if they prayed about it that God would have spoke to " someone " and said " My child, do the right thing and tell the people that you plan on bringing in the HST " before they were elected instead of LIEING( which by the way is a sin) about it saying no we don't plan on bringing the HST in and then once elected doing the exact opposite. That's why the majority of British Columbians are angry at the government. Not because of the tax itself, but because of how they were lied to and now to add insult to injury, the government could have delt with the Fight HSt petition with a " FREE " vote in legislation but opted to go the route of most defiant and cost the tax payer millions through a referendum. No class at all. Oh I'll pray for the government alright! I'll pray that they get the boot! Just my opinion!

Dale Calibaba

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder to be counter-culture.

Anonymous said...

Well .A good reminder of our responsibility to pray and leave the results to God
Blessings Susan

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment Tim! You are right on. Unfortunately there is an up swell of anger over this issue that is almost irrational and it is easy to get caught up in that. Thanks for encouraging us not to dwell in that place of anger, but rather rise above it.

Anonymous said...

I love what you have said here. You are right on. Keep on keeping on :)

Merry Heart said...

Tim, I don't know if you have a job right now or not but even though your words are biblically correct its hard for people to hear this kind of a word who are directly losing their jobs and ultimately their life savings as a result of the impact this is having on our economy. The world is in a huge economic crunch right now and I agree with Dale that we do need governments that will be transparent and cautious in their decisions. We do need Christians who will pray fervently for their governments, but perhaps not 'preach it' to those who may be feeling hurt and oppressed.
God bless you,

Tim Schindel said...

Dale and Marilyn, thanks for your feedback. I appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts. Dale, I thought you might have meant 'Beautiful Sentences', but apparently not! LOL!

Both of you mention that leaders should pray and I don't dispute that at all. Leaders should pray and when they don't, many people can suffer the consequences.

It may be that the government lied prior to the election. If they did, God will deal with them according to their own sin. He will hold them accountable in ways that extend far beyond what recall or a lost election can do.

If they did lie, that does not absolve us of the responsibility to pray for them. What I see in the scriptures shows me that even when leaders are completely out of control, our job is to pray for them. If our province is being led by dishonest people, it should cause us to pray that much more fervently that their hearts would be convicted towards repentance and righteousness because righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.

As to the current economic difficulties, there's no denying that we are experiencing the most significant economic collapse in a century. It seems to me that the greatest thing that we could do for the unemployed is to pray for those who have been entrusted to provide leadership through this time.

They are the people who must respond with policies and decisions that will provide both short and longterm relief .

My point in writing this post is to call Christians to a higher and more biblical response than simply sounding like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Those were beautiful sentences in regards to my comment Tim LOL. Pray ob my friend, Pray on!

Opal said...

I agree with Tim that we need to rise higher then the world's standard. God hates the sin but not the person. We are instructed to pray for those in authority. If all we do is grumble and complain how is God going to work through that? We need to pray the Word of God over the nation of Canada/ our leaders/ Isreal and all nations.....then God can move. As far as the economic crunch...I say, "I wll not worry and be anxious, saying, what am I going to eat or what am I going to drink or what am I going to wear...but I will seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right) and then all these things taken together will be given me besides." Mathew 6: 31&33. We (Christians) have been taken out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son He loves....if we act like the world and talk like the world how are others going to see Jesus.

Kaaren said...

Tim - I'm a little slow in getting to your newsletter but I couldn't help think that maybe you should send your comments (leave out the HST part if you like) to Danny Williams and Stephen Harper, both apparently Christians. Would it make any difference, I wonder...

Kaaren in Newfoundland

Graham said...

There is no greater responsibility given to Christians than to pray for their leaders, Christian or otherwise. Even when Israel was taken into captivity, they were exhorted to seek the good of their captors.

I personally know that it is a difficult task to pray for a leader whose values are so diametrically opposed to what a Bible believing Christians should be, but I have not been obsolved from praying for them & seeking their good. The Bible calls us to rise above the ways of the world & respond in the opposite spirit.

Dale, when I read the Bible, my opinion often gets refuted. Trusting that you have a change of heart.


Anonymous said...

It is just amazes me how we can be so taken in by the media and the world around us. I often think as Christians we should be better equipped to filter what is really important in life. There will always be good times and bad times. Taxes are a given in life. We are very fortunate in this country to have access to excellent medical treatment, clean water and unlimited food.(That's just the tip of the iceberg) If we have to pay a little more tax on 'luxury' items, then so be it. As a whole, we are spoiled as a nation and we need to start looking at what we have rather than what we don't.
Brenda in Victoria