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Unfair Laws, Taxes, Corrupt Government and the Duty of the Christian

Devotional Thought of the Day:
1  Remind your people to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them, and to be ready to do good in every way. 2  Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.
Titus 3:1-2 (TEV)

10  So Samuel told them, delivered GOD‘s warning to the people who were asking him to give them a king. 11  He said, “This is the way the kind of king you’re talking about operates. He’ll take your sons and make soldiers of them—chariotry, cavalry, infantry, 12  regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. 13  He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. 14  He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. 15  He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. 16  Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. 17  He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. 18  The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don’t expect GOD to answer.”
1 Samuel 8:10-18 (MSG)

13  For the sake of the Lord submit yourselves to every human authority: to the Emperor, who is the supreme authority, 14  and to the governors, who have been appointed by him to punish the evildoers and to praise those who do good. 15  For God wants you to silence the ignorant talk of foolish people by the good things you do. 16  Live as free people; do not, however, use your freedom to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves. 17  Respect everyone, love other believers, honor God, and respect the Emperor.
1 Peter 2:13-17 (TEV)

As the political campaigns for President get more heated, I am becoming more and more concerned with our response as those who trust in and follow Jesus.  Some are Republican and some are Democrats. Most have a hot button issue, but even more often they have a candidate, within or without their own party, who riles them, whose success can cause great anxiety, whose name alone affects body language and betrays thoughts.  (And sometimes the words match!)

(the idea that Christians may faithfully follow God while in the other party also causes division, dissension and resentment!)

And so I take a moment to call to mind the words of Paul to a young bishop named Titus.  Who urged us to obedience, and St Peter, who urged us to respect those in authority and obey their laws as well.  I could also quote Jesus. who talked of giving to Casesar what is rightfully his, but to God what is His.

But it is this respect thing that will rankle many.

Some will even talk about respecting the office instead of the man, and then deride their opposition personally rather than the laws and policies they put in place.  As a side note, dividing the office from the person means that they are now your neighbor, and you should treat them accordingly!

Others will talk about how evil their leaders (or potential leaders) are, and the evil they do.  As if leaders in the past where always honorable and self-sacrificing.  Hence I call to mind the Emperors and Governors (Caesars, the Herods, Pontus Pilate who killed people and mixed their blood with the sacrifices) who Peter and Paul had to submit to and obey.  Or the words of Samuel above, who described what kings and national leaders would do, warning us of the cost of living in this world, as well as in God’s kingdom.  Evil and corrupt leaders are nothing new, nor are laws which seem patently unfair, and taxes that are not used for the good of all.

In countries like ours, we have the blessing of being active in our governance.  We have the ability to vote, to work for change, to strive for what is good, and right.  Yet we still have the obligation, not to man, but to God, of respecting those that are in leadership.  And striving to be in leadership.  Other countries don’t have that blessing.  It doesn’t even matter what kind of political system is at work, monarch, democratic republic, one based on Socialist or Communist, or even a Dictatorship that is less than benevolent.  Peter is clear, it is not because of their righteousness, or their corruption and threats that we submit to their leadership.  It is for the Lord’s sake!!

So we do, and so we become martyrs, witnesses not to the righteousness of the government, but to the righteousness of God.

For what should it matter that we gain the White House, have a clear majority in Congress and the Supreme Court, if we even gain the whole world, if the cost of that is bondage to sin, and losing our relationship with God?

Dear brothers and sisters, this is something we all have to work on, to so treasure God’s love that we hear him, that we give up our fears and frustrations, that we are good stewards of both Kingdoms we are in, that we reflect His love.  The only way to do this is to keep our eyes on Christ, our Lord, our master and King.  For He is our hope, for He is the One who can bring about real transformation, real change!  He is the King who is looking out after all our interests. He is our savior.

For in Christ nothing is impossible, knowing that even if those we are subject to plan to do evil, our God will use it for good.

AMEN!

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