Remind people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready and willing to do good, to slander or abuse no one, to be kind and conciliatory and gentle, showing unqualified consideration and courtesy toward everyone.
We were a brotherhood of Christian men sitting down to fellowship and break bread. This had been our tradition for some time, and I considered these meals a sacred space. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, our time of spiritual renewal began to focus more and more on political controversy. As those discussions continued, the tongues of God’s children began to speak words which were not life-giving. I tried to steer these conversations in another direction because I was concerned about the testimony we were providing to those around us. One day, someone went so far as to speak words of literal hatred toward one of our leaders. That is when I had to draw the line and decide to separate myself from that environment.
The enemy always looks for a way to lead us into disobedience. One effective method of his is to convince us that it is okay to treat some people badly or disrespectfully for seemingly justifiable reasons. If we study the scriptures, we will see no instruction to ever treat anyone like this. Even our enemies deserve our compassion and prayer because God commands us to extend that to them. In this world where everything is politicized and everyone is expected to choose a side, it is easy to trick ourselves into thinking that the leaders who support ungodly legislation and cultural traditions do not deserve our respect or obedience. However, this attitude is nothing more than a man-made belief which is not based on any biblical support. We are to obey them as long as it does not require that we disobey God.
We can disagree with our leaders while still being obedient and respectful. We cannot forget that our heavenly Father is in control of who is placed in authority over us [Rom. 13:1]. We also cannot forget that our obedience to earthly authority is reflective of our obedience to God [1 Pet. 2:13-15]. We obey them for his sake. And if our leaders are raising up a standard against the Lord, then we fight our spiritual battle in prayer for their enlightenment and transformation. It should be our desire to please God, and we can do so only if we are obedient to his command. Father, make us obedient and compassionate that we would treat our enemies with respect and honor and obey our leaders as You have commanded.