Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Rom 13:1-7
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Rom.13:1)
How many times have you been running late for work, speeding down the road, when you were pulled over and issued a ticket? Do you think, "I'm so glad that officer pulled me over. I was driving too fast and could have hurt myself or someone else!"? Of course not. The thought, most likely, that's going thru your mind is, "Doesn't he have anything better to do?" We never appreciate the fact that this officer is making the road safe for pedestrians, other drivers, and for us. We don't appreciate that the law allows us to drive free from the chaos of reckless drivers. We find it annoying.
The passage says we need to obey government for two reasons: first, there's the immediate and obvious reason of being punished by the government itself. Second, there's the threat of being punished by God. How many times have you lied to your boss and not been caught? Does it feel good to know you got away with it or does your conscience make you feel guilty? Therefore, it is necessary to submit to authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience (Romans 13:5). I know it's easy to be discouraged by the things government does. It's easy to complain about a president or even a boss. That's not what God calls us to do. Submit to authority, every day, as if you were submitting to God.
However, it's important to note that this passage on submitting to authorities is surrounded by passages about love. As Christians, I believe we have a higher calling of preserving social justice. If the authority in our lives causes harm to our neighbors it's important to take action and not just blindly follow a law. This does not mean disobeying every law that is inconvenient for you. If people are truly being mistreated because of the law we, as Christians, need to do something just like Moses did when he took the Israelites out of Egypt. For as Romans 9:17 says, "for the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.'
We have no greater example of submitting to authority than Jesus. He broke the law because he knew it to be unjust and he healed on the Sabbath. However, he submitted to the ultimate authority and he laid down his life so that we might be saved.
Remember 0 Lord, all who exercise authority in our country and society especially the President and all who hold offices in the state. Help them to put their trust in you and seek from you wisdom and spiritual strength. Implant in them the will to do good and a spirit of co-operation and guide them in all their deliberations and decisions. Amen.
Authority based on love and social justice will sustain life.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church