Never before have our lives been so drastically impacted and changed by those in authority. Each of us are facing decisions we never thought we’d need to make. There is much turmoil, confusion, fear, discouragement and uncertainty. Which is exactly what I believe the Enemy intended.
I realize this post may be controversial. In all honesty, I have never struggled in writing another blog as I have with this one. Why? Because I want to be obedient in what God has been laying on my heart, yet I also don’t want to offend or mislead. Just as I desire to show grace without judgement towards others, I appreciate the same.
Let me begin by sharing two important facts. First, I am not undermining the potential danger of this coronavirus, especially for specific, vulnerable individuals. In fact, these precious ones, like my own daughter, hold a special place in my heart. Those of you who know our family’s story likely understand why.
Next, I am not a rebel. (Although I am well aware that I may now become accused of being one.) I believe in upholding the governing laws of the land. I believe it is important to respect and obey authority.
I have not always practiced this perfectly and I honestly admit there have been a few times when I intentionally broke the speed limit. (face palm) This is the only time to my knowledge when I have intentionally broken a government law, and it was rather embarrassing when I was pulled over and attempted to give the avenging officer my excuse. I was trying to make up time while running late on my way to a prison. How ironic! (The officer seemed to find it rather amusing and actually thanked me for doing prison ministry, while offering me a kind warning.)
And finally, in reading this blog, please realize that my husband and I certainly don’t pretend to possess all the answers. In fact, it sometimes feels we have more questions than answers. But in our praying and studying scripture, this is what we feel is a balanced approach to the issues at hand.
Let’s take a look at what God’s word says about governing authorities.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”
This clearly defines there are authority structures that God has ordained and established for our protection. Authority and order is a gift to us. Yet, we have accepted a warped, authoritarian, and unbiblical view of what governmental authority actually is. Not only have we accepted it, but, sadly, we’ve welcomed it.
Each of us likely agree there are governmental, church, and personal/parental authorities clearly defined in God’s word. There are also authority roles depicted within establishments and relationships.
But let’s think about what governmental authority looks like in our world today and what God’s word depicts it to be. And herein lies, what I believe, to be the underlying problem of most of today’s turmoil and confusion.
According to Romans 13, governmental rulers are ordained to avenge evil and reward good. Their primary role is to keep order and protect our citizens. Nowhere, in my opinion, is there any indication in scripture that the government was intended to provide healthcare for us. Their role is not in providing education for our children. And the government has not been given authority to decide when or how we should worship God. They are not depicted as being responsible for the welfare or health of it’s citizens. It is the church’s role to fill the need of feeding and caring for the orphans, the widows and the homeless.
We have failed as a church and have shirked our God-given responsibility in allowing this kind of overreach. It’s time we step up and retake our God-ordained roles. Enough is enough. Why have we shirked our responsibilities for a more comfortable life? Why have we willingly turned our children over to the state, allowing them to tell us how to medically care for them? Why have we welcomed the government to educate our children or take care of our elderly? Since we have given them these misplaced responsibilities, should we be dismayed when they are attempting greater control?
Whenever there is a confusion of authority, someone is shirking their responsibility or overstepping their bounds.
The picture below may be helpful in visualizing what happens when authorities step outside of their roles and try to move into other circles of authority.
As believers, each of us have probably struggled in understanding our roles during this pandemic. What is the most godly and redemptive way for us to respond? What would Jesus do? What should our attitudes be toward those who are creating laws that violate not only our higher laws, but also our personal lives? The areas in which God will hold us accountable.
Let’s think of a different example of authority overreach. Let’s suppose my church leaders tell me I am required to send my children to their private school rather than homeschooling them. But my husband believes we should continue to home educate. Should I step out from under my husband’s authority and what we, as parents, have established for our family because of what the church is demanding? I don’t think so. Why? Because the role of the church should never overstep our parental authority. The church needs to function within the role for which it was intended.
The greatest issue at hand in this situation wouldn’t be regarding whether I am disobeying and going against the rules of the church. The issue needing to be addressed would be the church’s unbalanced and unbiblical overreach.
In 1 Timothy 5:8 we are told that if we don’t provide or care for our families we are worse than an unbeliever. God holds us responsible for our family. In order to truly care for our families, I believe we need to be aware of what is coming our way and protest anything that violates our ability to do what God has called us to do.
The same is true in our current situation. The government is reaching way outside of their domain of authority.
Should we be made to feel we are disrespecting and disobeying authority when we choose not to follow those who are not in authority to make these “so called” laws? No, I don’t believe so.
Let me share another example. The local police officers in our area have told our church they will not enforce the governor’s restrictions and prevent us from worshipping as a church body, because it would cause them to break a greater law. Are they doing the right thing? I believe so.
We have been blessed by the many individuals who’s heartfelt desires have been to respect and obey authority. In fact, I believe this accurately reflects the heart of every true believer.
But we need to keep in mind the highest law of our land. The United States Constitution is the highest authority in America and is foundation on which all other laws are established. It is called the supreme law for a reason. Every government leader who is placed into office takes an oath to obey and uphold this law. Let’s read a section of what it consists of:
“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any…“
The Constitution holds judges and state officials accountable and declares that no laws can be made against the Constitution. Which later describes freedom to assemble, religious freedoms, the right to travel, etc.
Yet, most of the issues states are facing today are caused by governors who are violating the Constitution and attempting to create their own “laws”. Not only are they in defiance against their authorities, they are also reaching out of their sphere of authority, and violating the freedom of others.
Should we simply follow every “law” that is passed? Absolutely not, when that individual has no authority in making these law. We are guilty of greater disobedience and disrespect when we follow a governor or other government authority who is going against the higher authority of the Constitution.
Another reason we have been resisting and taking a stand against this tyranny overreach is because we also believe it is rooted in demonic power. And it directly violates the part of our lives for which we are directly and personally accountable to God.
So what should our role be as Christians? What should we do?
My friend, we are not called to be peacekeepers, we are called to be peacemakers. And we cannot make peace if we do not get involved.
Many of us have also been influenced by the perspective of Jesus saying His “kingdom is not of this world” as meaning we shouldn’t become involved in our world’s issues. But when we study the life of Jesus, we see Him and His disciples actively being involved in speaking out against the evil and wrong of their day. God’s kingdom is not immaterial or irrelevant. No one in the history of mankind entered into the relevant humanitarian issues of His day more than Jesus did, and we simply cannot believe Jesus would remain silent and inactive in today’s events either.
I believe this could be the catalyst to call our church out of the slumber and indifference we have basked in for years. This is a picture much bigger than standing against unjust laws that infringe on “American rights.”
I wonder what would happen if churches would collectively unite and stand up against evil. Could we make a difference if we’d rise up against the evil in our world? We have been silenced for too long. TOO LONG! Evil agendas have made great strides in our country because of uniting together for a common goal. Why can we not become passionate to stop the evil, and boldly speak about the things that are breaking the heart of our Father? Where is our love? Our works in action? Where is our faith and our trust in God’s protection and sovereignty? Are we more concerned about not offending those who may have opposing views than the lives and well-being of individuals?
We cannot continue to comfortably hunker down in our homes and watch these atrocities unfolding before our eyes. We are called for “such a time as this.”
I believe God is shaking everything that can be shaken to help us open our eyes. It is time to arise out of our comfortable slumber. Spiritual wickedness in high places needs to be torn down. We are God’s greatest army, and each one of us can make a difference. It may include making phone calls, signing petitions, voting, exposing lies and sharing truth. The greatest way we can be involved is by praying and fasting, but there also comes a time when practical action is also needed. “When we study the life of Jesus, we don’t see Him “playing it safe.” Jesus entered into much of the “messiness” and controversy of His day.
Instead of being driven by fear, what would happen if each of us boldly stepped into the messiness of today? Isn’t it time to enter into the messiness of speaking up and trying to stop the atrocities regarding abortions, child neglect and abuse, domestic violence, sex trafficking and the darkness around us? Isn’t it time we step up against those who are attempting to control and destroy our lives? This is not about obeying authority. This is about “tearing down wickedness in high places.”
We have done many good things in Jesus’ name, but we have also remained passive and accomplished little in combatting evil. We have chosen to side step the issues and have responded like the religious Levite from the Good Samaritan story, carefully and peacefully passing by on the other side.
We are called to be peacemakers. Not cowards. Peacemakers are not inactive, and peacemakers do not become door mats. Peacemaking involves much courage and involvement. We have been the “Levites” far too long. By our silence and passivity, we have automatically sided with the Enemy.
It’s time to rise up, oh men and women of God!
~Cindy (for the Mullett family)