Respecting Authority

Sunday, January 29, 2012
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Listen while you read: "Wonderful Grace Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

"I didn't vote for him, so I don't care." "Democrats spend too much." "Republicans favour the wealthy." "Wrong skin colour, wrong party, wrong faith." "But dad, you don't understand. That teacher hates me." "I just cannot work for her."

The excuses for disregarding authority are endless — and I can easily convince myself that they're legitimate. As a child of the American sixties and seventies, I cut my teeth on rebellion. Most didn't like the war or those running it. Corruption hounded political figures. Watergate brought down a president. Police turned dogs and night sticks on protesters.

So why should I obey and respect authority? Because God said:

Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (NIV)

Despite a historical niche that nurtured rebellion, time — and more importantly, God — taught me that reverence for authority lays a proper foundation for all aspects of society. God ordained governing authorities, and I must respect His establishment.

There's only one reason for disobedience: if governing officials require action conflicting with God's laws.

So I'm not required to like taxes, just pay them. I don't have to agree with the individual's stance on the issues; just respect him if he's elected. Nor am I required to be best friends with my boss, but do my best while working.

Respect begins at home as parents teach and require obedience from children. They earn respect by loving their children unconditionally and pursuing their best interests. This encourages children to respect teachers, employers, government officials, and other authority figures.

Lack of respect results in children dishonouring parents, students insulting and harassing teachers, employees taking advantage of employers, and citizens disregarding government directives. And all of that causes prisons to bulge, families to disintegrate, and societies to become chaotic.

Government — the institution — is ordered by God and demands my respect. Learning respect for other authority figures earlier in life makes the transition easier.

Prayer: Father, help us to view government as from You, respecting those You've given charge over our care. Amen.

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Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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