Convicting quote from our special session Sunday School lesson this week:
Criticizing politicians is the Great American Pastime, or so it would seem, and
followers of Jesus are not immune. Men and women who claim to have been redeemed
by the same Savior often cross swords over political agendas. One wonders how
often those outside the faith are confused by the political antics of those within it.
Scripture expects at least one thing of Christians as they relate to government
officials—we are to pray for them. In my experience, prayer for those in authority
is really low on the personal citizenship agenda. We rarely pray corporately for our
government leaders (unless we are in a 4th of July service), and we rarely pray privately
for them (unless we are mad at them and want God to make them vote our way).
Respect to those in authority is not so much earned as it is commanded. God’s economy does not operate like mans.
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:7 ESV)
“Pay” translates a Greek word signifying the payment of something owed—not a voluntary contribution—and is reinforced by the word “owed.” Christians must not refuse to pay taxes simply because they think some of the money is used unjustly, for the Roman Empire surely did not use all of its money for godly purposes! So, too, believers are to honor their leaders, even if they are not fully admirable – we must “pay what is owed”. God demands that we show sincere respect and an attitude of genuine high esteem for all public officials.