Posts Tagged ‘authority’

Problem with Authority?

March 19, 2009

As Americans we sometimes have a problem with authority.  We question authority. We challenge authority. We reject, rebel and overthrow authority, if we do not like what it is doing or saying.  It is practically part of our American heritage, but it is not necessarily a good thing

Hebrews 13:17 begins with “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive…”

The whole concept of “obey and submit” almost creates a gag reflex.  We are outraged.  We are independent thinkers, responsible for our own actions. 

This attitude towards authority can get people in trouble at home, school, work and society.  There are consequences for rebellion and disobedience at all levels of society.  The punishments vary; including grounding, detention, loss of employment, fines,  jail or even death, depending on what authority has been disobeyed, and to what extent.

A proper attitude toward authority begins in childhood at home.  The Bible tells us “To honor your father and mother, that it might be well with you, that you might live long upon the earth.”  (Exodus 20:12)

As children our parents teach us about rules.  There are rewards for good behaviour and punishment for bad behaviour.  As we grow. the attitude that we learn at home is applied to our teachers at school, our bosses at work, and the society in which we live.

Romans 13:3 says “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.  Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”

This does not mean that we are to follow all instructions mindlessly.  Sometimes, those who lead, are themselves led astray.  We are not to be mice following a piper to our destruction.  If the instructions from our leaders clearly goes against what is right, then it is appropriate to “obey God, rather than men”.  Yet, I think that the tendency is to far too quickly rebel. 

May God help us to find the balance, to do what is right.


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