Wednesday, March 9, 2011

1 Peter 2:13-17 - Accept the authority of the emperor?

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:13-17

Summary: Accept the authority of human institutions. Live as free people. Honor everyone and fear God.

Thoughts: It's Ash Wednesday.  The day we go to church, have ashes put on our foreheads in the shape of a cross, and try to think of something to give up for Lent. So on this Ash Wednesday, I find myself thinking about what I should give up.  I think of the young person who gave up Facebook last year for Lent and her testimony about how it served to show her how much time she spent on-line. Although I am tempted to do the same, instead I feel God calling me to be more intentional about getting into the Word. And so, I am going to attempt to blog each day of Lent, in order to remind myself to spend more time with Scripture.

But about today's scripture, I find myself returning to these words: "As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone." God wants us to be free. But we need to live within the laws of our system of government. Don't use your Christianity as an excuse to break the law, saying that you serve God, not the government elected by mere people. However, what the writer doesn't say, is that if the law goes against God's law, then we need to fight against it. Just as the people in Libya are fighting against those in power in their country. That's what I hear when the writer says "Honor everyone." As Christians we must find a way to live within a system that is not Christian. Sometimes that means that we should accept the authority of the emperor, but sometimes that means that we should stand up against those in power in order to be in solidarity with the oppressed. Because we serve a God of love, not a power hungry God.

Prayer: Lord give me the strength to stand up against any system which does not treat people equally and help me to do what I can to support people around the world who are doing the same. Amen.

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