[forthright] Respecting Those who Rule

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 20:52:57 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

Read the editorial posted today: "Righteous and Devout"
http://www.forthright.net/editorial/righteous_and_devout.html


COLUMN: Field Notes

Respecting Those who Rule
by Michael E. Brooks

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no
authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed
by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of
God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans
13:1-2, NKJV). 

It was a very good idea. Two fine Christian young men want to attend
Bible College in another country. The school is able to receive them,
and happy to reach out to candidates from a neighboring nation. The
invitation was extended, and visas were sought. That is where problems
arose. The government of the host country ruled that the college had not
yet met all necessary conditions, so visas were not issued. Submit more
forms, and try again later.

It is easy to complain about and criticize such rulings, or even to
develop a persecution complex. “If we were of the majority religion,
there would be no problem”.  “Another case of harassment of minority
religions”. It is easy to say those things, or to think them. They may
even be true. But the fact is, it is their government, their rules, and
they have every right to enforce and administer them in that way. The
Spirit teaches us not to complain or feel picked on, but simply to
submit. 

This teaching does not play well in today’s rebellious and permissive
society. We are continuously taught disrespect for all authority,
especially that of government. In both entertainment and news media
governmental officials are frequently depicted as incompetent at best,
and corrupt, greedy, conspiring despots at worst. “The people” are
always in the moral right, government always wrong, regardless of the
issue or circumstance. 

To make matters worse, we are simultaneously being encouraged in
selfishness and greed. Commercials insist, “You deserve it,” whether the
product is a luxury car or a retirement of ease and wealth. Special
interest groups insist that their members be given every “right” and
privilege which can be imagined. The result of these two philosophies is
that authority is despised and ignored, and law is considered harmful
and unnecessarily restrictive.

In practical application this means to many that if a law is
inconvenient, ignore it. Others reason that law is for the other person
not themselves. If someone wants to harm me, that is illegal; however,
if I want to do something against another, that’s different. Far too
many feel that anything is ok, as long as they can get away with it
either by not getting caught or by using influence or bribery to avoid
consequences.

In the midst of this rebellion, Christianity teaches, “submit to
authority.” The reason is simple. It is ordained of God. All authority
exists with his knowledge and approval.  This does not mean that all
authority is good, as we judge it, or that governments cannot be
corrupt. They can be and often are. But we are not their judges. Our
duty is simple. Obey the law. Let God deal with those who abuse their
position. He will, in his own time and way. Meanwhile those who are his
people honor him, by submitting to those whom he has appointed. Whether
or not it is convenient.

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