Sunday, January 29, 2006

Vigilant, not vigilante

I heard a point made last week, that being obedient to God includes being obedient to the structure of authority under which we live, in small things as well as large. Breaking the law, whether by cheating on your taxes, speeding above the posted limit or robbing banks is still doing wrong.
Man has a rule breaking nature, and often defies established authority ...with relish.
The song, “You’re not the Boss of me, now!” is the distillation of that defiance.
We’ve all known (or been) people who refuse to color within the lines, who object to any societal rule which would modify behavior. They believe that they can pick and choose which laws to keep or break; they are a law unto themselves, and they act accordingly.
It’s that rule breaking nature.
It isn’t Christian to break laws. We are called to obey God AND established authorities. If there’s a Christian who cheats on his taxes, I wouldn’t trust him to pass the collection plate. If you know a Christian who breaks the land speed limit in a Buick...driving to church...he or she is a lawbreaker. And that is sin. And that separates us from God. Not by making us unsaved, as that’s impossible, but we know in our hearts when our sin keeps us from a right relationship with God. That’s how we’re built. Romans, Ch 1.
For example, I will speak out against Abortion, but I would never harm any doctor or clinic that performs abortions. Because that is against the law. There have been some murders of Abortion performing doctors by lawbreakers who claimed to be Christian. Jesus said, 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Paul echoed his Lord when he wrote to the Romans: “17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Jesus Christ “Is the Boss of me now.” My law-breaking nature still gets me in trouble now and again-I’ve taken to using the cruise control in my van, to quiet the temptation to speed just because I probably wouldn’t get caught. Someday, when I’m no longer in this sinful, carnal body, the temptation to sin will be gone. Until then, I NEED to be reminded to do what is right, not to speed, not to sin or break laws. I wouldn’t last a day without God’s Grace and Mercy. Let’s go out and overcome evil with good.

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