A Culture Of Reward
Worldly societies are based on punishment. For example, the police are not charged with identifying good drivers and rewarding them. On the contrary, they give tickets out to people who speed or break the law.
The kingdom of God has a completely different core value system. God rewards people who work hard, create a positive influence in society and are faithful. For example, the guy in the Bible who got five talents and made five more was rewarded with the extra talent that was buried by the fearful servant. God gives to people who already have a lot when they use it to benefit others. Therefore, when the kingdom comes in a city, business people and citizens who create jobs and positively benefit society should be rewarded for their efforts, not taxed more heavily than people who’ve chosen not to take a risk.
Dealing With Poverty
Somebody once said, “If you need money, don’t ask for money, ask why you need money.” Poverty is not the absence of finances but the presence of dysfunctional mindsets that create ecosystems in which prosperity is sabotaged or resisted. Therefore, when the kingdom comes in a city, the poor must be given a hand up, not a handout. It’s imperative that we do not create systems that encourage generational systemic poverty. We must give the poor fish, so-to-speak, while we teach them how to fish. There will always be people among us who will never be able to provide for themselves because of various handicaps, and we must take care of the poor. Proverb says, “He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord.” But when we create ecosystems that reward laziness, irresponsibility or selfishness we are rewarding the very attitudes that perpetuate poverty.
The Role Of Government
When the kingdom comes in a city, government promotes the family and doesn’t take the place of it. For example, our social security system should reward families who take care of their own elderly. In this way, people in their latter years of life are not just financed, they are cared for. But when the responsibility for the elderly is given away to a governmental agency, the funds the family needs to take care of their elderly are siphoned off to an impersonal structure and love is undermined.
Dealing With Negative Eco Systems
When the kingdom comes in a city, the root causes of negative ecosystems are dealt with rather than creating symptomatic cures that become tomorrow’s problems. Gangs are an example of the desecration of the family unit where young men and women are hungry for bonding and camaraderie that is absent in latch key kids and fatherless families. They are finding these virtues of friendship, loyalty, protection and identity in gangs. Consequently, packs are taking the place of families. Therefore, when a society’s only course of action is to punish gang members instead of helping to rebuild families, gang members learn the wrong core value about authority, which ultimately serves to facilitate a dysfunctional ecosystem that distances itself from fathers and widens the generation gap.
One of the signs that the kingdom is at work in a city is that all people are valued equally no matter their gender, ethnic origin or their social class. Like Jesus, the church must champion women and be their greatest encourager and defender. Religion oppresses, devalues and disempowers people in the name of God. But the kingdom empowers people and encourages them to dream, think and create.
Kingdom Education Systems
An educational system under the influence of the kingdom values creativity, ingenuity and character. For example, life skills, virtues, values and character development must be implemented alongside of history, math and science. The entire environment of a kingdom school system must become a culture of learning and growing. In other words, learning must transcend the classroom and become a multi-dimensional experience were life on the campus is a discipling process. Education itself must be redefined so that the recounting of facts is not the main goal of learning. Instead, the ability to think, reason and make decisions based on virtues, values and stances is also enhanced in a kingdom educational system. School systems must be transformed from teaching to training centers. Innovative methods of training and equipping students must be embraced especially for individuals who don’t learn primarily through sitting in a seat for six hours while listening to someone lecture.
When the kingdom comes in a city, a healthy sexual social culture is established. Shame is removed from sex and passion is valued along with sacrifice. People are taught how to manage their sexual appetites, not get rid of them. Women are no longer viewed as objects but embraced us individuals who are to be adored, protected and loved. Children are embraced and valued as the fruit of a lifetime covenant and not as the burden or mistake brought about by the actions of virtuous partners who insist on other people bearing the scars of their poor choices. Virgins are valued and honored as victors and not viewed as prudes.
Holy affection is the fruit of a healthy sexual society where mothers and fathers can openly display appropriate love for people. The absence of real affection in our culture is causing people to look for love inside of sex, instead of in families and amongst friends. This is resulted in the boundaries between sex and affection being skewed. Lust has been exchanged for love, and sex for affection. But the Bible says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Healthy affection is one of the signs that the kingdom of God is affecting the values of our city.