Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughts on Authority

I am late in blogging today. I have had some scattered thoughts, and I have been trying to round them up and make sense of them. This may be a little different today.

Today I have been thinking about the authorities and powers that be. We may live in a free country, but there are definitely powers and authorities that rule over us – some that we place ourselves under and others that we have no choice in. Without these authorities, chaos would abound.

One authority that we have no choice in is our parents. Like it or not, parents have certain rights to rule the lives of their children. As Christians we are to honor our parents and obey them. As far as I can tell, there is no timeline on that in the Bible other than when you marry, you are to leave and cleave to your spouse. That brings us to another authority – a husband is the head of the family and the wife (yep, I believe that). Fortunately, women have a choice in whom they give that authority to - choose wisely. Also as Christians we give our lives to Christ and abide by His rules. This usually means we place ourselves under the authority of a pastor or elders. As Christians we are directed to obey the laws of the land – the government. Unless we are self-employed, we usually place ourselves under the authority of a boss. When you join the military, you put yourself under rules and laws and obey the higher-ups. If we send our children to school, we are placing them under authority of a teacher, principal, and school board. These are a few of the authority and powers that I thought of right now. It seems in this world that someone has to lead and someone has to follow. Someone has to be the Border collie and others the sheep.

So, what if you don’t like what the authority over you is doing? What if you don’t like taking orders? What if the rules are not fair? What if the authority over you abuses his/her power? Can we change things if we are not happy with the authorities? Of course you can change things (well, the parent thing is a little difficult to get out of). Isn’t that what makes this country great? We have a freedom of speech to voice our opinions. We can make things happen. We can make things right. But, I think there is right way to go about change. Once again, there are rules that govern even the way we change the rules.

Grumbling and complaining about the authority is never a good idea. It does not cause peace, but unrest. It undermines the authority and makes for unhappy marriages. It does not make for a happy work place. I would think in the military, where orders are given and followed with lives depending on this, grumbling and complaining about the higher-ups could be disastrous. Clear communication is important, as is respect for each other’s positions. If this fails, you have choices. You can quit your job. You can find a new church. You can leave the military (sort of). You can change schools or systems. But, badmouthing the authorities is just low. Follow the rules, change them orderly, or get out.

Often authorities and powers cross each other. The rules become a little more difficult to follow – the lines become blurred. Who has the higher power – husband or employer, government or God, parent or teacher, personal freedoms or the good of society, etc? Our forefathers were not happy with King George and his laws. Unfortunately, they had no representation and little choice the matters. Yet, those men believed they had God-given rights – power – above what King George had over them. Those men came together and wrote the Declaration of Independence. I find that so amazing – so awesome. They made changes in their lives that changed the world.

Abigail served David against her husband’s wishes and was blessed for it. Her husband, who did not serve David, was struck with a sickness and died. Even after David became God’s anointed one, he never attempted to kill Saul knowing that Saul was crazy and wanted to kill him. God, in His own time, took care of that for David. Maybe that is the lesson here. Serve God first and He will take care of the rest.


Dale said...

GOD, Family, Others, and then Myself in that order has always served me well. If we first serve Him who first served us then everthing else will fall into place. Very well spoken Lou Lou!

Laurie said...

Excellent post. How to put God first has been the sermon topic the past 2 Sundays at church. I have been taught you always follow the laws of the land and those in authority above you *unless* they cause you to violate God's laws.

Buck said...

I had minor, sometimes major, problems with authority up until I was 40 or so...especially in the military. The Big Things came easy enough; it was the little arbitrary and senseless (to me) things I took issue with. Always. Part of my problem was my Leftie political orientation, with its "Question Authority" attitude. I can see the manifestation of that attitude in Lefties today. And I smile...

It took me a long time to grow up, but I finally did. I think your ideas are spot-on, Lou.