Today is the day that the US Government begins issuing the economic stimulus rebate checks to tax paying Americans. Thinking about how we just passed the tax deadline and how we must be subject to the authorities that demand we pay taxes leads me to think more about authority and how that all relates to a major lesson to be learned from the Virginia Tech Tragedy and even my personal tragedy.
The second lesson in my “Top Ten” (see the tab above) is “Respect Authority.” Not respecting authority is a big problem seen throughout our culture. Many simply do what they feel like doing and hope that they can get around any laws or penalties from not obeying them. If others are doing something against the rules or the law and don’t seem to be in trouble, then it becomes even easier for us to justify what we do or do not do. Seung-Hui Cho had a problem with authority. For whatever reasons, he did not respect the authorities around him, nor the laws that would have kept him from hurting so many others.
Respecting authority requires submitting our will to another, be it the authority in the home, the authorities in the government, or the authorities at church. We all like to be our own authority, but we all are forced to be subject to the laws of nature. We should choose to always obey the ultimate authority of our Creator and His revealed Word and we must respect all the authority structures He has established. Romans 13:1ff makes this rather clear.
What a difference we could make in our culture if we all did more to respect the authorities GOD has established! We EACH will give an account to God for how we do this or not (a minister is not the only one accountable to God, as Rev. Jeremiah Wright alluded to in news comments today). Even when we disagree with an authority, we must submit to that authority unless it violates GOD’S ultimate clearly revealed authority.