We think WE have it bad.
Imagine living in the time of so called “Roman Peace” (pax Romana). Maintaining order in the Roman Empire was often under the boot of a dictator. Free speech was unheard of—the wrong words within Roman hearing were justification for immediate imprisonment or worse. Usurpation of person or property was, at times, the whim of government officials or common soldiers. Emperors often acted as if they were gods instead of men.
Submission was required of the Christian, no matter the authority, the created institution, or the office (1 Peter 2.13-14). Peter explains our responsibility is to do good even if we think the authority to be “foolish” (2.15). We should view our Christian submission to authority as a voluntary act (2.16). And if memes existed in Peter’s day, this would be one: “Fear God, love Christians, honor everyone, honor the emperor” (2.17).
America is a unique nation in human history. Our homeland is far from perfect. We have sinned in numerous ways: slavery, forced relocation of Native Americans, abortion. Yet, in God’s mercy He has allowed a measure of Providential success and prosperity to many. Americans have titanic freedoms; freedoms envied by people in other nations. Hardships abound, yet citizens of the United States live in the most prosperous, peaceful country in human history. Our distinctive standing, mandates our respective responsibility.
If you are a Christian reading this brief essay, please—do not quibble with an idea, a word, what you think was left out, or should not have been said.
Stand against vilification of anyone because “their group believes a lie.”
Stand against prejudiced information because “our news source is always correct.”
Stand against poisonous language because “they are terrible people.”
Stand against arrogant attitudes because “our heart is right with God.”
Join with me. Raise the standard of Christian respect for our elected representatives—no matter who is elected. Rejoice that we do not live under the hobnailed boot of a dictator. Rejoice that we can have our voice heard without recrimination. Rejoice that we can do good without fear of government intervention. Join with me for justice so that we might live in peace.
May we Christians encourage those who do good no matter their viewpoints (Titus 3.1, 8, 14).
May we Christians be known for our love, others seeing that we are Jesus’ disciples (John 13.35).
May we Christians stand for right against wrong, winning the respect of outsiders (1 Peter 3.16).
May we Christians respect our authorities so that we might live our lives in peace (1 Tim 2.2).
Our country is not perfect. Our representatives are not perfect. We are not perfect.
May we turn what we think is bad into doing what we know is good.
Mark will be standing in line to vote tomorrow along with his fellow Americans. Dr. Mark Eckel is president of The Comenius Institute.