Helping little old ladies cross the street may seem old fashioned, but it is the essence of the idea behind good citizenship. Of course, being a good citizen doesn’t require earning a merit badge. Acts of a good citizen begin with obeying laws and living by the Golden Rule in your community.
The foundation of good citizenship in any society involves respecting authority and following the laws of land. This isn’t just a historic American principle to live by — it’s a biblical command handed down by God in the New Testament.
Think of other community members and their needs. When you treat others how you want to be treated and love your neighbor, you can’t help but be a good citizen.
The Apostle Paul explains that believers are to respect those in a position of authority. He expresses how, ultimately, anyone in authority is there only because God has placed that person in that position.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. —Romans 13:1, KJV
He goes on to explain how anyone who obeys those in authority has no reason to be afraid. If you do what is right, there is no reason to fear occurrences such as being pulled over by a police officer, being charged of a crime or being hauled off to jail for breaking the law.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. —Romans 13:3, KJV
Being a good citizen is more than just following the rules; it also includes looking out for the safety of others. If you witness a crime, report it. Also make it your ambition to live at peace, to the best of your ability.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. —Romans 12:18, KJV
A good citizen will also follow the rules of the road and consider other drivers. Aggressive driving, cutting people off without a signal, honking at other drivers, texting while driving, not paying attention or otherwise driving recklessly has the potential to result in more than just being a bad witness with a Christian bumper sticker.
The best way to be a good citizen is to follow the Golden Rule. In a nutshell, this means to think of others first and to treat them the way you want them to treat you. Share kindness and consideration for those around you.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. —Romans 13:9b-10, KJV
This goes back to the original scenario of helping a little old lady cross the street. There are countless opportunities similar to this one that you encounter on a daily basis. Also, go a step beyond what is expected of a decent member of society and help those in need.
Some acts of good citizens include:
– Providing food to a local food pantry
– Collecting donations to help families in need
– Becoming a foster parent
– Volunteering your time reading to children after school
– Donating to pregnancy shelters
– Bringing a fruit basket to an elderly neighbor, or mowing their lawn
– Picking up trash
Whenever there is an opportunity, serve. If there is no opportunity, look for one by finding someone in need and lending them a helping hand.
The entire Law and the Gospel are summed up in one word: Love. Those who walk in love will automatically conduct acts of a good citizen.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. —1 John 4:7-8, KJV