Does God Truly Desire us To Obey the Government? How To Stand Firm While Maintaining Love.
I would like to start this post with a disclaimer: nothing is complete fact, this is a point of view, an opinion, and it is up for discussion in love. This opinion can be controversial but quite frankly that's the point.
Today I wish to challenge your world view and perspective.
Romans 13:1-2 says: "Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow."
What does this mean? And why is it here? Let's dissect this. First, I wish to mention the definition of obey is to comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of. This is important and we will return to this in a bit.
Too often, I see two different sides in the world: Those who are for something, and those who are against it. Whatever this point of view, both sides are ripped apart and at war with each other, exercising their personal judgement.
To call particular shit out, those who follow the government blindly, and those who call those people sheep and think we need to war against the government.
Leviticus 19:18 points out quite clearly, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord."
And in James 4:11-12, "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?"
To summarize, we are to only love, and to not judge. When we are being divided like this, the enemy is still winning by stirring up controversy, anger, and hate!
You may ask though, when our government seems corrupt and selfish, why do we have this verse as initially stated in Romans? What are we to do?
In this let's look to Christ for our example to witness how He interacted with the government and church that so often desired his destruction.
To start, in Matthew 2 it describes the story of the Wise Men who ventured to see Jesus; they initially stopped in Jerusalem meeting with King Herod to inquire where “the newborn king of the Jews” was; Herod played innocent and desired the wise men to return to him with the babies location so he “could go and worship him too”. The wise men however were warned by an angel of Herod’s lies and deceit and that he wished to kill the baby so they did not return, and Joseph himself (the baby’s father) was then warned by an angel of Herod’s intent and fleed that very same night to Egypt until Herod died.
Despite the deceit and danger at play, God was in charge with warnings and instructions as to how to proceed.
As we proceed through the New Testament we witness Jesus training his disciples and instructing them to go forth through various towns preaching His news of love.
Christ instructs them to give blessings to those who will receive it, but for those who don’t to simply leave and wipe the dust off their feet (Matthew 10:14). They were not to war, cast judgement, or utter curses but simply to walk away.
And as for the government: Jesus warned them in Matthew 11:18, “You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.”
In Matthew 17 Jesus and Peter are confronted by a tax collector asking for their taxes, despite a discussion following between Peter and Jesus that they essentially shouldn’t have to pay taxes, Jesus still instructs Peter to go catch a fish upon which he will find a silver coin, and to use it to pay the taxes so as not to offend anyone. (Matthew 17:27)
I wish to also direct attention towards Acts 16:16-40 when two disciples, Paul and Silas, were thrown into jail. Despite having been beaten and threatened with death, they spent that night in their cell praising and worshiping God. In the end, they were released, apologized too, and many were brought to believe in God from this situation.
Finally let’s reverse all the way to the old testament of Daniel 3 ; a gold statue was erected and a decree declared that whenever certain instruments played all were to bow down and worship the statue. Three Jews however, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to do so despite the threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace; They knew they were only to worship God and to not bow down to any idols. These three jews were brought before the King to be questioned, and threatened of death, yet still they refused to obey. Note, they were not disrespectful, they did not start a war against all the other citizens claiming them to be foolish, but they also did not hide or shy away from speaking their truth. In the end they were thrown into this furnace, and ultimately, ended up miraculously surviving; Through this miracle they changed the King’s hearts and ways.
To conclude these examples I wish to share a dream I had which partially provoked the writing of this post: In summary, the end of the world was coming, natural disasters were wreaking havoc, and the government was cracking down on the people. Wars were breaking out between those for and those against the government only causing further persecution by the government and needless death by and from the people themselves in dispute. In my dream I was told not to take sides, but to stay alert, to speak my truth when needed, but not to fight. Throughout the dream many times I was taken prisoner and brought to strange locations, however in doing so it actually allowed me to avoid circumstances that would have otherwise killed me if I had objected.
At the beginning I mentioned the definition of obey was to comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of. In this I wish to now raise the awareness that ultimately we are to obey to government, but only when it does not come against the authority of God Himself first.
And yes, the government may be corrupt in ways, and clearly always has been; but no matter what we are commanded to always maintain respect, and love for everyone.
When situations arise that go against our beliefs, we must draw ever closer to God to hear his wisdom and advice, having faith in His power to see us through, in a loving, respectful manner towards others, trusting, and knowing that God always has a greater plan in place and that nothing is beyond His understanding or power.
Remember: God knew Christ was to be crucified by the Church and the Government, but that ultimately through His death, sin and death would be conquered for all.
Again, we may not always have the bigger picture, we may face adversity, and we may face confusion, but no matter what it is clear that we must always maintain awareness, compassion, love, and faith, for everyone, no matter what.
In this I shall leave you with three important techniques to assist in maintaining one’s sanity during these crazy times:
Exercise your intuition and connection with God; in this you can then trust how, and when, He wishes you to act and flow in life.
Let your voices be heard; When doing so ask, Is this speaking from a place of ego, of fear, of wounding, or is it from God in respect and love? Will this offend and stir up the masses unnecessarily, or will it respectfully bring awareness and truth?
Keep the Faith; Trust the Divine Plan of God and His higher understanding that you may not yet be aware of.