Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Are You Worried about Government?

January 12th, 2017

All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. (Isaiah 40:17)

I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35)

An incredible amount of emotion, fear, worry, and even rage are spent in concern for things that we cannot control, specially human governments. In these days in America, with the presidency of Barak Obama coming to an end and the presidency of Donald Trump beginning, there has been a significant amount of outpouring of emotion from both sides. Some prefer the style of Obama, and others prefer the substance of Trump – no doubt that in personality Obama is smoother than Trump, or than most people in the planet, for that matter.

No human government in the history of the world has been perfect nor can become perfect because they are always dealing with the sin and failure of humanity. Some governments are better than others, and some are worse than others, but beyond that no one can truly say that a flawless one has ever existed, or will ever exist, until Christ returns.

God’s work in our age is redemptive. He lifts up the fallen, forgives the sinner, and redeems the captive from his addiction to sin. He establishes people in His grace and allows us to stand in Him forgiven, free, and new. He gives peace to the troubled, health to the sick, food to the hungry, and joy to the joyless. He makes peace between enemies, turns swords into plowshares, and makes former enemies to become brothers.

Paul wrote:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor. 1:27-29)

Government’s work is as an agent of God to establish order and to see that justice is done. Romans 13:1-7 teaches us the biblical principles of governments, that they are instituted and upheld by God for without them there would be anarchy and chaos, the rule of the mob and of the mobster. So be grateful for the government that you have. It is imperfect, flawed, but still helpful. Seek to make it better if you can, but do not expect it to be perfect.

But God is not in awe of human government. He does not tremble at the thoughts of kings and dictators, or of presidents and prime ministers. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing.” He loves and He redeems from sin, and He has a plan for our eternity, but human government is not impressive to God.

What we can do in the name of Christ is to seek to spread love, forgiveness, peace, and redemption. There is enough indignation, cynicism, anger, and hate. If you are spreading more of that then you are not necessary, and you have made yourself such. We need people who will reach out in compassion and grace and draw people to Jesus Christ. He is our hope.

Instead of anger and hate, instead of fear and worry, I suggest we spread love and grace, that we preach confidence in the final victory of Christ and of His return. I believe this will bring more honor to Christ and will be a bigger blessing to people on this earth.

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A Moral Foundation

June 16th, 2016

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

The typical television drama of today is about punishing another person – someone who has done something wrong. It is an emotional unleashing in our hearts of anger against those we consider to be “bad.” We are fed violence and retaliation on a daily basis. Though we can truly call many of our law enforcers “heroes,” men and women who put their lives on the line daily, the greater work is always positive in nature – to build and rebuild, to redeem and restore, to forgive and reconcile.

Retaliatory violence breeds more violence, and the one who wants to make the “bad people” pay for what they have done will find himself becoming increasingly evil and violent himself. It is a sad but common story found in history, that the deliverers who rise up to fight against injustice, once they are in power become unjust themselves.

It was Lord Acton (1834-1902) who made the oft-quoted observation about the morally corrosive nature of being in power.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. (John Dalberg-Acton)

God in his Word taught us the importance of having a heart that is at peace with God and with itself, that longs for the establishment of God’s kingdom, rather than the personal exaltation into a position of power. Even if we gain power over just one other life, it is still a dangerous temptation to our hearts. If we had absolute power over another, would we use that power to harm them rather than to help them?

The wisest among us lives with a deep personal awareness of God’s authority over him, and seeks to control his own anger. Paul claimed power not to destroy others but to build them up (2 Cor. 13:10). The one who cannot control his temper will use his position to hurt others rather than to bless them.

May I say that the world today has enough selfish people already? We simply do not need any more. It is selfishness and selfish ambition that does so much harm in the world (James 3:16). The greater people on earth, the real quality people, are always those who work for the good and benefit of others, and not just for themselves. Better a man who works hard to provide for his family because he loves them, than the man who works hard strictly out of selfish ambition.

Better the person with a moral foundation, who seeks not merely to be in power but seeks to do right out of reverential fear of God, out of a sense of moral responsibility, than the person who just wants his own way. It is far, far better to play a small part in establishing justice than to play a large part in establishing injustice.

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)

Our spirit can only be ruled by our submission to the Holy Spirit of God. We by ourselves cannot rule our spirit entirely – only God can. Our role is daily surrender to him, to worship him, to love him, and to follow him.

Possessing a moral foundation requires us to put God first in each and every situation, to avoid the temptation to anger, pride, and self-glory. If we put God aside and make our lives all about us and getting our way in the world, we will hurt many people and be utterly miserable ourselves.

The ungiven self is the unfulfilled self.

Self-respect and respect for others go together. I do not believe it is possible, except superficially, to think well of ourselves and ill of our human fellows, or to think well of them and ill of ourselves. (Bonaro Overstreet)

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