By Stephen Bloom | March 27, 2010
What about taxes?
Since the government uses much of our tax money for immoral purposes, is it okay for Christians to shade the truth when it comes to paying taxes?
Aren’t we honoring God if we hide some of our income from the IRS?
It sounds appealing: Save money, honor God, and keep the fruits of our labor out of the greedy hands of government!
But sometimes our best human reasoning and self-justification just doesn’t measure up to God’s clear standards for our behavior. Sometimes, for our own good, we need to listen to God’s guidance, especially when God’s guidance is perfectly straightforward: Pay the taxes you owe!
The story is told in three of the four gospels. Jesus is approached by some religious people who think they know his character. They are sure he will advise against paying taxes to the corrupt Roman government. And they plan to use his opposition as a way to trap him with legal trouble and shut down his ministry. But Jesus surprises and amazes them by saying, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
It’s that simple. Jesus says to pay the government the taxes we owe!
Yet many Christians seem to struggle with honesty and full compliance when it comes to paying taxes. And some Christians continue to dance around the issue of taxes almost as if they believe there is an entirely separate standard of morality that applies, as if the distinction between lies and truth mysteriously evaporates in the realm of taxation.
So here’s the real deal: Lying about taxes is still lying. The book of Proverbs, at Chapter 21, verse 6, warns us, “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.”
What are your thoughts on the morality of Christians paying taxes?