A Biblical Perspective on Government Authorities
With the Presidential campaigns in the forefront of nearly every television newscast and talk show, and peppered throughout social media, seemingly everyone has formed very strong opinions. However, with this election, more so than any other in my lifetime, those opinions seem to stem almost exclusively from an ardent disdain, distrust, and even hatred of one candidate or the other, as opposed to the favorable qualities and ideals of their opponent.
Throughout the country, lines in the sand have been drawn. Liberals can’t stand conservatives and vice versa. Republicans think Democrats are looney and are destroying the country. Democrats think Republicans are narrow-minded and are trying to keep the country in the dark ages. For certain, there is little respect given to government authorities whose views are different from our own. But beyond that, there is so little respect given to the government in general that the term “government” has become synonymous with ineptitude and bureaucracy.
Wow, how different this is from what God teaches and commands! Romans 13 starts by stating “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.” Note that it did not say, “if you agree with the government,” or, “if it’s your political party,” or “if you think things are going well.” It is a command from God to submit to the government and to give respect and honor, no matter what government or leader you are under.
But why? The opening verse of Romans 13 addresses that too – “… for there is no authority except that which God has established.” So even if you are of a different party, different opinion, or different agenda, the government is due honor, respect, and obedience. We can disagree. We can work to pass different laws. We can vote however we want. We can discuss better choices, but the government is always due honor, respect, and obedience because God has established it.
Although maintaining this perspective on government and governing authorities may not always be easy, it honors God and helps us to be ever mindful that He is in control.