Boycotting is extremely popular and common in the modern day. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines boycotting as “to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (a person, a store, an organization, etc.) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions.”
Individuals boycott a variety of different things, such as brands, people, or causes. With the popularity of boycotting in the modern day, it is helpful to know what the Bible says about boycotting.
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible never mentions boycotts, nor does the Bible tell us to participate in boycotting or not. Since the Bible doesn’t tell us directly about the ethics behind boycotts, many individuals think the Bible is silent on this issue.
Even though the Bible never directly discusses the topic of boycotting does not mean it is silent on the issue. Many issues are never spoken about in the Bible, such as drugs or living together before marriage, yet we can still find the answers to these questions in the Bible.
Paul tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:16-17).
As this passage tells us, it is important that we live at peace with others. God doesn’t want us to actively stir up trouble or cause pain for others.
Instead, He wants us to live at peace with others and seek unity with our fellow believers,
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Thus, we should strive for unity and peace with others.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a monumental figure during the Civil Rights Movement. He used his voice to speak up for equality and peace. King took part in boycotts and protests, yet they were always peaceful, and he utilized Scripture.
Everything Martin Luther King Jr. protested for was in conformity with God’s Word. He took a stance for a peaceful protest. Never once did King advocate for violence, as his protests were focused on being nonviolent and peaceful.
In this way, what King was doing was in no way unbiblical. Everything he did was peaceful and nonviolent, and advocated for equality. If Christians choose to boycott, they need to do so in a way reflective of Martin Luther King Jr. and choose to practice peace, equality, and nonviolence.
Even though the Bible doesn’t speak directly about boycotting, we can use what we have learned from the Bible to form our ethics surrounding boycotting. There is nothing wrong with boycotting as long as it is peaceful and nonviolent.
Christians can participate in boycotting, such as boycotting unethical practices or practices that go against the Bible. It is good for Christians to take a stand against these organizations and unethical practices, such as boycotting sweatshops.
Many of us believe that sweatshops are a thing of the past, but they are still around. A few stores that utilize sweatshops are Adidas, Nike, Old Navy, H&M, Forever 21, Ross, and TJ Maxx.
As Christians, we should boycott these organizations because they are unethical. We can boycott these stores by not purchasing items from them and educating others about their unethical practices.
It is important to remember that if Christians choose to boycott an organization, they need to do it peacefully. We should never become violent or hostile toward anyone or anything. Many violent protests and boycotts end badly.
As Christians, we should never be a part of a violent boycott. God does not desire us to live hateful and violent lives. The Bible tells us, “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5).
From this passage of Scripture, we are told that God hates those who love violence. This is because God hates sin, and all violence has its source in sin.
In the same way, Jesus talks about nonviolence in the Garden of Gethsemane, “‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’” (Matthew 26:52-54).
As Christians, we need to follow Jesus’ example and abstain from violence, including violence in protests and boycotts. As established, boycotting is perfectly fine as long as violence is not involved.
By following the example of Jesus, we will be able to be peaceful and respectful in every area of our lives. Martin Luther King Jr. strived to follow the Lord’s example as he protested for equality.
In our own lives, we can participate in boycotts because boycotts and protests can help bring about the greater good. By boycotting organizations, such as those who support sweatshops and other unethical practices, we will be able to help advance the greater good.
In other words, if we stop buying and supporting organizations that promote unethical behavior and practices, in time, we could help close the organization or cause them to change their practices. A boycott can bring about great change if it is done properly and as to the Lord.
Why Does This Matter?
Thus, boycotting is never mentioned in the Bible, yet we can use what we have learned from the Bible to form an ethic over this matter. Nothing is wrong with boycotting, as it is peaceful and respectful.
Christians do not need to be involved in violent or hurtful boycotts because God doesn’t want us to be involved in these practices. God hates violence, and He does not want us to adhere to violent practices.
Sadly, many boycotts and protests become violent and can cause injuries or even deaths. These types of violent boycotts and protests only cause harm, and no good can result from violence.
Instead, in any boycotts or protests, we decide to be involved in, we need to make sure they are peaceful and nonviolent. God calls us His own, which means we are His representatives on earth.
Paul tells us directly, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Through our boycotts and protests, we should be advocating for proper ethics and behaviors that bring glory to God. We should never be involved with boycotts or protests that are advocating for unbiblical principles.
The Lord loves us, and we should do all we can to bring glory to His Name, even through boycotts and protests.
May we be encouraged by this truth, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
In our boycotts, we need to remember we are reflecting Christ to the world; therefore, our boycotts and protests need to be peaceful and nonviolent.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
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