What It Means to Be Neutral
Jesus taught that his followers should be “no part of the world.” (John 15:19) This includes being neutral—not taking sides in the world’s politics and wars. Realistically, it is not always easy to be neutral. We may be ridiculed because of this. How can we stay neutral and remain loyal to Jehovah God?
1. How do true Christians view human governments?
Christians respect the government. We do as Jesus said and “pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar”—that is, we obey the laws of the land, such as those that require us to pay taxes. (Mark 12:17) The Bible teaches that human governments rule only because Jehovah allows them to rule. (Romans 13:1) So we recognize that human governments have only relative, or limited, authority. We look to our God and his heavenly Kingdom to solve mankind’s problems.
2. How can we show that we are neutral?
Like Jesus, we do not get involved in politics. When the people saw one of Jesus’ miracles and tried to make him their king on earth, he did not let them. (John 6:15) Why not? Because, as he later said, “my Kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) As Jesus’ disciples, we show our neutrality in a number of ways. For example, we do not go to war. (Read Micah 4:3.) We respect national symbols—such as flags—but we do not worship them. (1 John 5:21) And we do not take sides for or against any political party or candidate. In these ways and others, we show that we are completely loyal to God’s government—his Kingdom.
Examine situations that may test our neutrality, and see how you can make decisions that will please Jehovah.
3. True Christians are neutral
Jesus and his followers set the example for us. Read Romans 13:1, 5-7 and 1 Peter 2:13, 14. Then, play the VIDEO and discuss the questions that follow.
Why should we respect secular authorities?
What are some ways we show that we are in subjection to them?
In times of war, some nations may claim to be neutral, but they assist both sides in the conflict. What is real neutrality? Read John 17:16. Then, play the VIDEO and discuss the question that follows.
What does it mean to be neutral?
What if secular authorities demand something that conflicts with God’s law? Read Acts 5:28, 29. Then, play the VIDEO and discuss the questions that follow.
If there is a conflict between human law and God’s law, whose law should we obey?
Can you think of any circumstances in which Christians would not obey secular authorities?
4. Be neutral in thought and action
Read 1 John 5:21. Then, play the VIDEO and discuss the questions that follow.
In the video, why did Ayenge decide not to join the political party or participate in nationalistic ceremonies, such as saluting the flag?
Do you think that he decided wisely?
What other situations can test our neutrality? Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the questions that follow.
How can we remain neutral when it comes to international sporting events?
How can we remain neutral even if we are personally affected by the decisions of politicians?
How could the news media or our associations affect our neutrality?
SOMEONE MAY ASK: “Why don’t you salute the flag or sing the national anthem?”
How would you respond?
Christians work hard to be politically neutral in their thoughts, words, and actions.
What do we owe human governments?
Why do we remain politically neutral?
What situations can test our neutrality?
What sacrifices may we need to make in order to remain neutral?
What can families do to prepare in advance for tests of their neutrality?
Why is defending one’s country not the highest honor a person could have?
Consider how to remain no part of the world when making decisions about your employment.
“Each One Will Carry His Own Load” (The Watchtower, March 15, 2006)