Rom. 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1). Since we in the United just had our midterm elections, I thought it would a good time to write this article. In the months leading up to the election, all contenders attack each other, and the media cannot help but promote one or the other. One side attacks the others’ policies, the personal history of the “enemy,” their associations, and they pounce on any mistakes they have made in the past. It does not take long for most rivalries to spiral into a chaotic screaming match of “He/she did this or that or said this or that terrible thing.” All that follows is ugliness and contempt for each other. Healthy, respectable debates seem to have been lost.
I have watched both sides of the political spectrum in the US berate and hate the other side, either being fully aware or blissfully unaware of the damaging atmosphere they are creating. Politics is about wealth and power, placating sponsors, and ensuring one’s base does not desert to the other side. And they will do or say anything to get those votes. That is politics, and like it or not, it is a reality, both here and in every country that has fair and free elections. Freedom of speech can be a cruel master, so things are said that, well, may hurt or not be totally accurate – yet, another reality of politics. Both sides think their candidate never lies and has every good intention, while the opposing one is laughable – an ignorant liar with nothing to offer. Whatever the case, we will vote, and there will be a winner.
But what about the day after the carnage of the elections? What are we supposed to do until the next election cycle so we can once again make our voices heard? As Christians, our final authority is always the Bible, and where the government contradicts it, we should follow the Bible, but that does not mean with violence. Use your voice, not your hands, when it comes to disagreeing. Having a different opinion, even to the government, is not necessarily against the law (as long as it is not something like the refusal to pay taxes or something similar.) And while we are speaking of taxes, let’s quote our Savior.
Mark 12:13-17, “And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.” Look, none of us like parting with our hard-earned wages to the IRS, but at the same time, we want asphalt roads, electricity, a municipality, a police force, firefighters, hospitals, etc. So, as for me, I am an unwilling, willing payer of my taxes. I like amenities, so I pay for them.
Here is my thought on the matter of subjection to authorities, taken from the pages of the Bible, my final authority. Get involved, vote, complain if you lost, and cheer if you won because whichever was the case for you this time, history shows it will change. That is the nature of a democracy. Complain about the policies, but do so peaceably, always remembering that we represent the Creator God in everything we do. Respect those with differing opinions, and always show the love of Christ in all your communications. Consider trying to win them to Christ instead of your political party. And the final word goes to God through His perfect Word.
Rom. 13:2-7, “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”