We don’t like authority. We are rebellious and sinful people who have pushed back against authority since the Garden of Eden. We only like authority when we are the ones possessing it or when it agrees with us. God’s command for us is against everything our natural selves desire. It is also something that is repeated throughout Scripture. If God repeats an instruction, truth, or topic then we are to pay careful attention. It’s something He wants us to really allow to sink into the core of our being. It’s teaching He doesn’t want us to miss or ignore.
“Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.” (Titus 3:1-3)
“Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
Social media is known for fueling the fire of hate and providing an outlet for us to spew venom against authorities or anyone we dislike. It is Satan’s playground. It is his primary weapon against the children of God because from social media he can pour forth disharmony, hatred, division, rebellion, sex trafficking, agnosticism, atheism, adultery, divorce, and anger. Satan utilizes social media to give the illusion that we have a voice and an entitlement to rebel. We are not entitled to throw stones at those in authority because the Lord commands us to be obedient. He even warns when we are disobedient to this command, and we rebel against authority then we bring condemnation upon ourselves.
“Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him (Jesus), ‘teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:3-7)
Jesus did not stand up and tell the woman how horrible she was for committing adultery. He didn’t make her feel worthless or without dignity. He didn’t jump on the bandwagon of condemnation. He stood up, signaling the authority He had been given by God the Father, and turned their vision. He didn’t even tell the Pharisees or scribes how judgmental and arrogant they were in their actions and words. He simply held up a mirror and asked them to take a look. He did not dispute what the law of Moses said regarding adultery. The same Pharisees who were taking a portion of the law of Moses to enforce and condemn the adulterous woman were the same ones who were breaking other portions of the law of Moses. When we throw stones at someone else for their sins then Jesus is looking at us and asking us to review our life and what laws we have broken.
The command to be obedient to authority does not require agreement. We are not instructed to agree with the rulers God has placed, but we are told to obey. The only time we should be expected to disobey authority is when those in authority are mandating us to do something that is sinful and against God.
We may not like the president, but we are not to slander him and should pray for him. The concept and movement of #notmypresident should never be applicable to a Christian’s life because God places those in authority over us. The concept of #notmypresident or #notmypope (or anything similar) is a rebellious action against the authority God has put in place over us. We may disagree with our congressman, but we are to be respectful and seek peace. We may not have voted for our city mayor, but we are to be the light of Christ to others and not a dart of darkness and hatred. We may not like Pope Francis, but we are to be obedient and not a source of division within the Church. We may disagree with our bishop, but we are called to be prayerful, gracious, and loving. All those in authority have been placed in those positions by the Lord. It is his plan.
The Apostle Paul writes to Titus and instructs him to remind Christians where they have come from regarding their lives. He says to put the mirror up, just as Jesus did with the Pharisees, and remember we did not always live a life pleasing to God. We still do not live a perfect life. We are all sinners struggling to be saints. Pray before you criticize. Obey and surrender to authority even when you want to rebel. Defend the truth? Absolutely! But you defend the truth of Christ with humbleness, gentleness, courage, and with love. If you are to defend the truth and criticize, however, then you must be willing to look in the mirror first.