Citizens and Government

Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So, live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.

 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.                                                                                              Romans 13:1-5 (The Message)

For those of us of a certain age, October 25, 1962 was a very harrowing day. That day, and a few of the days on either side of it, were the high point of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember it quite well, as will others in my generation. The Cold War was really a thing folks. We were, as many historians will note, as close as we had ever been to war with the Soviet Union. Might it have been the holocaust that people predicted it could be? Thank God we will never know.

I recall the relief that we experienced when the crisis was averted, and the nation gave a collective sigh of relief.  Mind you, this was the recollection of a then 12- year-old boy. Crises tend to mark memories in an indelible way. We mark them and stand by them, even though researchers tell us that those memories are often formed by many factors, and that such recall is not always perfect. I will grant that. I will also stick by what I felt at that time. I was convinced that my leaders were completely dedicated and trustworthy. I felt safe believing that we were the safest and strongest country in the world. We trusted our leaders.

It wasn’t very many years later that the same President who guided us through the crisis had been assassinated, and our hearts were broken, and evil seemed very palpable. Then Watergate and a host of other events so eroded our faith in elected government, that such faith was hardly in evidence.

We are called upon to pray for our leaders, no matter our political affiliation, or even our trust in those leaders. Romans chapter 13 was written at a time when the “leaders” were pagan demagogues who were starting to hunt down Christians. Yet, they were called to submit to their government officials.

Can we do any less than at least pray for our current government leaders?  

Prayer: Lord we do lift up all of our elected officials in these difficult times. Help them to lead in wisdom, Amen.

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