The following information was sent to me yesterday in an email from a woman who works at the State Capitol:
THE POLICE HAVE ADVISED THAT WE LOCK OUR DOORS.
GROUPS OF YOUNG KIDS ARE MARCHING THROUGH THE HALLS YELLING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS...DRUMS ARE BANGING, ETC.
RESTROOMS ARE BLOCKADED. VANDALISM YESTERDAY.
ELEVATORS ARE BLOCKADED.
ANGRY CROWDS ARE POUNDING ON OUR GLASS WINDOWS.
PLEASE, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR STATE.
As Christians, what are we to make of this? I turned to John MacArthur, Pastor of the radio program Grace to You, to find out. He provides an excellent teaching on how Christians can act and think Biblically in situations like the one currently going on in our state capitol. To read the entire sermon, go to:
MacArthur begins by saying how the focus in our society is on rights.
“Everybody has rights in our society. Nobody talks about sacrifice, nobody talks about privileges, everybody talks about rights….And if you don’t get what you think is due, then you take it out on the society or whatever authority is over you. Strikes, protests, insurrections, rebellions against governments, against companies, walk outs, all kinds of common occurrences when people rebel against those over them who aren’t giving them what they think they have a right to…And if you don’t give me what I have a right to, I will rebel, I will fight back, I will lead a mutiny against you and I will harass you every way possible to get my rights. I will protest. I will strike. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
MacArthur says that sometimes those actions may lead to the desired outcome or beneficial compromises. But sometimes people simply lose their jobs.
He refers to 1 Peter 2:13 as being the Biblical course of action for Christians: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors…”
MacArthur says, “As citizens we are to submit to the government that is over us, designed by God for man’s safety and protection. We are to submit for the Lord’s sake.”
Another verse MacArthur sites is Romans 12:16-19 which says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.’”
MacArthur sums up the way Christians are to act and think when dealing with events such as those going on in Madison today. We are to be humble and respectful and maintain our fear of the Lord, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with the government, the unions or the protestors. He cites Ephesians 6:5-8, which says, “Slaves (this means servants: i.e. employees) obey your earthly masters with respect and fear (of the Lord), and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave (servant) or free” (words in parenthesis added).
“Paul,” MacArthur says, “is reinforcing what Peter says. We’re to do it with the right attitude, sincerity of heart, as if we were serving Christ. The mandate then--no walkouts, no strikes, no hold outs, no protests, no mutiny. Why?” The answer is found in 1 Peter 2:15: “That by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men” and because, in verse 19, “For it is commendable….”
Now MacArthur, in his teaching, says, “I’m not saying that sometimes the employees’ concerns are not justified…But I am saying that God requires that our attitude be right and that we simply commit it to God and don’t take vengeance ourselves...”
Finally, there is one other reason we submit with respect in a situation such as that in Madison right now. MacArthur says Christians should not be sending a message that we’re all worked up and we’re going to upset the system and then “lose our testimony” in the process.
Think about it. What good is it for Christians to engage in name-calling or ranting and raving and refusing to abide by the rules for something that is materially worldly? Of course, we can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians. These verses are for believers.
I think this is a good time to reflect on Joshua 24:15, and teach it to our children and grandchildren: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”