March 22, 2017
Our government isn’t perfect. When I look at the system we’re working with, I can tell you that I see holes and gaps, inefficiencies and sometimes stupidity in the structure we’ve created. But one thing I’ve learned in the recent years that I’ve gotten to know politicians, is that our government leaders deserve our respect. Whether you hate President Trump or love him, whether you have a hard time believing in our police system or not, it’s time we realize the way God sees our government officials and start treating them as such. If God honors government then that means there’s something right about it.
Honoring Even Tyrants
I’m about to give you a chunk of Scripture to read through but stay with me, because it is rich and full of wisdom. During the days of Nero, an infamous tyrant known for his cruelty might I add, the apostle Paul wrote, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:1-7). I’m not calling Trump a tyrant, and once again I’m not endorsing him. But, I think there may always be leaders we disagree with, and we should know how to honor them regardless of that. Here is what we can learn from these verses:
- Civil leaders are ministers of God. So, we should honor and respect them.
- God gives civil leaders a sword to use against evil people.
- Personally, I am instructed to turn the other cheek when people hurt me, but our government has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens by using force when necessary.
- If you want to do evil than you should fear civil leaders (police, soldiers, etc) who are instructed to use force against you. This means that the rest of us should be thankful for the force that our government uses to protect us.
- We pay taxes to honor and fund our civil leaders. This is biblical.
- Those who resist authority are resisting God!
Praying for Peace Means Praying for Our Government
I am not a rule keeper by nature, but I understand the above verses and concur with their sentiments most of the time. I do realize that no civil leader is perfect, yet these principles are much harder to wrap my brain around when government or its representatives are corrupt, like Nero. This brings me to a place where I’m reminded that it’s impossible to live solely from principles; wisdom demands that we get to know the Prince. He will lead us into all truth, and I hope this Scripture inspires you to have a Q&A session with Him! And while we dialogue with God, there are two things I know we can hold onto; respecting our leaders and praying for them. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 we see that praying for leaders leads to a quiet life, which creates an atmosphere for people to come to know God; “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So today I want to encourage you to take an honest look at the way you view our leaders, start talking to the Lord about these truths, and pray for peace over the leaders of our country.
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