Respectful Citizens

The bible teaches that we are to be in this world, but not part of it. Our place, our “home” is really in heaven. We are just here for a span of time; or as the book of James says, “even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”  (James 4:14) However, we are here in this world and part of an earthly society. Consequently, there are certain rules and responsibilities that we must adhere to. We hear a great deal these days about our, “rights”, but little is mentioned about our responsibilities.

In our society our responsibilities include: voting, paying taxes and following the laws of our land. Every time we have an election I am appalled at the indifference that people have for the election process; one that my grandfather fought for (Vimy Ridge and the Somme.) We live in a country where freedom is taken for granted. Perhaps if people traveled more to other nations they might realize how impoverished other countries are especially those under dictator regimes. It is the duty of every citizen to become aware of election issues and cast their vote!

In Matthew 22:22 Jesus said to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s.” In other words, we need to render our taxes unto the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper. It never ceases to amaze me how it has become a totally acceptable practice is our society to cheat on our income taxes; to the point where if you don’t cheat, you are dumb! After all, “everybody does it!” Well, not everybody does do that! I don’t! I remember when I lived in Banff, it was a commonly held idea that the best job in town was to be a waiter or waitress because of the earning potential of gratuities which did not have to be reported on ones income tax. Excuse me?! Yes, tips do have to be reported; but our society says we are to cheat as much as possible. This has become so entrenched in our society that people honesty do not regard it as fraudulent crime; which is exactly what it is. My, how far we have strayed from God’s law.

Another fraudulent crime in today’s business world is for the small businessman to charge personal expenses to their business. This is very very common; it fact it is “the norm.” Again, “everybody is doing it;” and why wouldn’t you? It is one of the “perks” of owning your own business; so they say. I do not agree. When I lived in Banff I would often go to our local building supply store for various purchases either for myself or for my business. I had two accounts; one personal and one for the business. I will never forget the reaction of the owner when I told him I wanted to establish a personal account. He asked me why I didn’t want to charge my purchases to my business. I told him why; I think he probably thought I had a screw loose somewhere, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I believe to this day, I established a witness and perhaps some respect in the eyes of that business owner.

More appalling to me that people cheat on their taxes and/or charge personal expenses to their business is the fact that Christians do this! How do they expect to be blessed by God when they are guilty of fraud? Not only are we not to cheat the government, but we are to pray for it and the people in power. (1 Tim. 2:2) It does not matter who is in power and whether we agree with how the government spends our money. We are simply to be honest, above reproach, and pay our taxes. I am however, a firm believer in legally avoiding taxes wherever possible. An R.R.S.P. (K401 in the U.S.A.) is a good example; but once taxes are due, they are to be paid, on time, and in full. Scripture teaches us to be free of debts, that includes our financial debts to our governments, which is essentially ourselves, for we are the government!

Got any stolen goods in your house? (plastic milk crates? A & W mugs?) Were you given too much change by the cashier and decided to keep it? Did you find something that belongs to someone else and not return it? Did you jump that yellow light? Jaywalk? Not put money in the parking meter? Not put the shopping cart away? Stand in the 8 items or less express line knowing full well that you have 15 items? Going to court to “fight” that speeding ticket when you were in fact speeding and broke the law?

Hitting to close to home?