When disagreement becomes disrespect..
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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
– Romans 13:1-2
Last night while checking out the score of the Alabama-Georgia game I came across a video posted by Sports Illustrated of an Alabama player yelling F____ Trump as the team went through the tunnel to enter the playing field.
President Trump was in attendance for the game and of all the threatened protests by the NAACP and others this outburst gained the most attention.
The irony is not lost on me that a college football player, a recipient most likely of a full-ride scholarship, privileged to attend and play football for a nationally recognised university, and one the premier football programs in America, would choose to express himself in this way.
In the not-so-distant past a black football player would have had little chance of even attending the University of Alabama much less playing on its football team.
But how this young man chose to express himself is typical of many in our culture. We are privileged to live in a nation where self expression is a right we enjoy. Free from the threat of jail or censorship.
But as I read the comments that followed the posting of the video I thought of Romans 13.
First let me say I voted for Donald Trump. You could categorize me as many do as the angry white conservative male, and assign that profile as the reason why I voted for him. The truth is we had poor choices in the past election. And Mr. Trump represented better what I considered important.
I have been less than impressed by his leadership, in disbelief sometimes at the childish tweets he sends out.
I was not a fan of Barack Obama either. For many reasons, most biblical rather than political. My idea of freedom, and democracy does not include globalism, or discarding Judeo- Christian values.
I felt about him I would imagine much the same way many feel about Donald Trump.
But in light of Romans 13 I think regardless of our political persuasion we need to tread carefully when it comes to disrespecting authority. Whether they are Democrat or Republican, or represent conservative or liberal views.
The early Christians found themselves in the position of being in a culture that demanded Caesar be worshipped as God.
They were stripped of their rights, chased out of town, and in some cases became tiki torches for Nero’s gardens.
Yet Paul himself on the way to prison and eventual death writes
“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.”
And to further make his point he follows by saying
“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Paul is not saying that you need to like those who are in authority, or even agree with the way they rule.
But we are to be subject to them.
It is an attitude of being under authority that we in the United States of America are very unfamiliar with.
It does not mean we fail to speak out when injustice is done, it does not mean we do not take up the cause of those who are denied basic liberties by the government and its agents.
What it does mean is showing disrespect in our comments and actions, fanning the flames of anarchy, promoting lawlessness, if I read my Bible correctly puts us in the position of opposing God.
The cause of the Civil War and the mission of Martin Luther King Jr although a hundred years apart were the same. Freedom for people held in slavery.
Tens of thousands of lives were lost in a war rooted in rebellion, millions were finally set free by pursuing what was right, by calling up on the government to make good on what it promised 200 years earlier.
Respecting authority but not agreeing with it.
There is great anger in our nation. Comments like the young man made yesterday and others on both sides of the political aisle only serves to increase that anger.
Paul gives great advice and Romans 12
” if it is possible as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone”
And in Titus 3:1-2
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
Finally in In 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Make requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.