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How to respond to those in authority?

by Pastor Mike Birbeck - March 15, 2022

America, we have an authority problem!

No one respects our leaders, and people who are competent to lead do not want to lead because no one will respect them.

We need some good leaders, men and women of honor, civility, and a servant’s heart. But, in the meantime, those of us who generally speaking are not in the upper echelons of leadership need to learn to respect and value our leaders.

Take a lesson from the Apostle Peter. You might know Peter as the sword wielding renegade, who did not hesitate to cut off the ear of one of the officials there when Jesus was arrested. Did you know the same Peter, after his faith matured, said, “submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men” (1 Peter 2:13)? Peter did not issue that command at a time of peace. He wrote to Christians exiled from their homeland because by those in authority because of their faith in Christ.

Why did Peter say this? Peter knew that all authority comes from God. Every king, president, governor, congressmen ultimately receives his or her authority from the one who is ultimately in charge. That does not mean that all those in authority use their God-given authority well. Some abuse it. However, because they are in authority and because we believe God gave them that authority, no matter who is sitting on the throne or at the desk, we are to support and respect, as far as we are able. This attitude makes for a more peaceful society. It even helps our leaders lead. Most importantly, God requires this of us.

Should we always submit? If we think our leader is pushing an unjust policy, we are to obey God more than our leaders. In our self-governing democracy, we can use the legitimate mechanisms available, civilly, to improve a situation of injustice. Be informed and speak, but you ought not character assassinate. If a leader becomes soo corrupt they need to be removed from power, after prayer and a examining of motives, we may ask God to use us as his arm to establish a new authority. We ought never to do this without much prayer and grave sadness.

I think our second President, John Adams, who nevertheless had a beef with his successor said it well, “I think instead of opposing Systematically any Administration, running down their Characters and opposing all their Measures right or wrong, We ought to Support every Administration as far as We can in Justice.”

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Pastor Mike Birbeck

Produced by Vogt Media
Home Page Sponsors: First Presbyterian Church Wellsboro

 
 
 
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