By Mitchell Cochran
This is America. We have no king. As such, the words of the Apostle Peter might sound foreign to us. “Honor the Emperor,” Peter wrote (1 Peter 2:17). Even though we have no king or emperor, we do have a President, Governors, Congressmen, Judges, and Mayors. It is the Christian’s duty to honor the leaders of men. This is best illustrated by Paul the Apostle.
When the Jewish High Priest shamed Paul, Paul openly reviled him. However, when Paul was told that he had just insulted the High Priest, he said, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest, for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people’’’ (Acts: 23:5). Think about this. Paul, the Apostle of God, the second most influential person regarding the Christian Faith, apologized to a corrupt High Priest whose purpose had come to an end. The work of Christ fulfilled the Levitical priesthood. This High Priest no longer had a divine commission from God. Nonetheless, Paul apologized. He recognized that authorities deserve honor.
Now, this honor is not the authority’s doing. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Therefore, we honor authority because God has instituted the State. I want to note that there is a time to resist the government, but that is beyond the scope of this article. However, even if the government is resisted, we are to honor our opposition. This is like a governmental application of loving our enemies.
This is comparable to our duty to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12). We may have to oppose our parents. In some terrible, abusive circumstances, it is justifiable for a child to fight his parents openly. Nonetheless, the commandment to honor parents stands. Such is the same with other forms of government.
We have an election underway; possibly the most significant election in American history. There is the un-American Joe Biden versus the flawed-but-American Donald Trump. Tyranny versus Liberty. We want President Trump to win. We want Joe Biden to lose. In our zeal, we must honor our authority even if we dislike his policies, even if we despise him.
If Joe Biden becomes the next President of the United States, let us not be like the Left who refuse to honor President Trump as President and yet are too cowardly to openly revolt. If, God-forbid, we must resist, let us do so with honor and dignity, not with cowardice and selfishness.
Now I turn my attention local. Mayor Dan Pope is not my favorite person at the moment. As I have been heavily involved in the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn movement here in Lubbock, I have been continually dissatisfied and angry regarding the Mayor and City Council’s actions (or lack thereof). Nonetheless, Mayor Pope is the mayor of Lubbock and deserves respect. Not because I like him or agree with his actions, but because God has told me to honor him. Whether Stephen Sanders or Dan Pope wins the mayoral election, I must give “honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7).
I admit that I am not always consistent with my walk and my talk. I have said things of authorities that ought not to be said. Criticism (whether personal and political) can quickly turn into unjust venting and bashing. As Christians, we must be humble enough to honor our authorities, yet bold enough to resist them.
This is a challenging, even paradoxical, task to be sure.
There is a baby step to help us get on the right path: Prayer. Let us offer prayers to our Father on behalf of our authorities. Let us pray boldly that we might have the wisdom and courage to resist when the time comes.
Submitted by Mitchell Cochran. Mitchell is graduate counseling student and has recently been involved in pro-life activism. Contact Mitchell at email@example.com. Photo credit, KFYO.com