The last time I spoke in church I labelled my sermon ‘Black And White Or Shades Of Grey.’ The passage I was speaking about concerned the difficult question of whether or not the Jews should pay their taxes to Caesar. Jesus’ reply was interesting – ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is Gods.’
In those few words. Jesus made it clear we should obey the law of the land (pay our taxes etc) but also give to God what is his, which is everything!
The problem arises when there is a conflict between the Government or the law, and the moral code of the Bible. For example, the law has clearly stated that the residents of Dale Farm in Essex who have 51 illegal camp sites on green belt land, must give up their homes of the past 20 years.
The locals fully support the evictions because of what they have endured over many years. The travelling people see it as an attack on their way of life, and claim they have nowhere else to go. So who is right? Frankly, I am not sure as we never get all the facts via the news or on TV. But the general principle that Jesus gave applies.
We should pay our taxes, support the law etc unless there is a direct conflict with the commands of God our creator. In practice therefore, the caravans should never have camped on land which did not have planning permission, but the local authority also have a duty to provide homes for those in need.
For you and me, we often face situations where the solution is not black and white, but a difficult shade of grey. In those situations we need the guidance of God’s Spirit, the support of fellow Christians and a strong moral conviction.
But ultimately we have to give to ‘Caesar’ what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. And sometimes this can mean making very difficult decisions!