Hello again interweb friends. I know its self indulgent to think that you missed me these last few months, so if you did i am sorry, and if you didn't then that's ok too.
I posted a blog towards the end of last year about submission and its role in our faith.(see post here) . I think that I need to expound upon what I mean by that, because I think our view of submission is so one dimensional most of the time. I think I'm going to do this as a series of blogs, so as not to over extend myself/scare you from reading a blog that scrolls for an eternity.
So tonight we'll start, and I don't know where we'll end
Being Right doesn't give you the Right
In the spring of 2009 I was part of a group within our Colleges leadership team that was concerned with the direction we were being lead in. we decided that we would send an email to the Leaders of the ministry and have an open discussion during our next leadership meeting. We were all convinced that what we were doing was in the best interest of the ministry, chain of command be damned.
needless to say things didn't quite turn out the way that we thought. The Leadership at the time lovingly and graciously heard our Demands (they were posed as questions, but in reality they were ultimatums) and then we were basically put in our place. I remember feeling betrayed, feeling misunderstood, and questioning whether I should be involved in such a stubborn ministry.
now that I have aged a bit and had a good amount of experience leading and being led, I feel like God has graciously renewed my mind to what was really going on in my heart. especially between the ages of 20-23(it may go further, but I can't really speak to anything past 23) We believe this very odd argument:
I Believe I am right
My Authorities Disagree
They are wrong
If they are wrong, they shouldn't have the authority
I have a responsibility to rebel
in the situation that I just gave, we Believed that we were absolutely right, and not only did we have the"right" to rebel, but it was our DUTY. this is very American of us, very Declaration of Independence, very Constitution. if your rights are being infringed upon, it is your duty to take your rights back
the only problem with that is that it is not biblical. Authority is not given to the most capable, most intellectual, most brilliant. it is given to those whom god decides to give it to.
1 Peter 2:13
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Notice that it doesn't qualify what kinds of Human Institutions we are to submit to. not only Just ones, or in this case "Right" ones. it does say what they are sent to do "punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good" but this letter was written by Peter During Nero's Reign as Rome's Emperor. these were people living under the rule of a tyrant, and Paul is telling them to be subject to every human institution? lucky for us peter doesn't leave us hanging. "For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people"
this is something that me and my friends did not understand. first of all, the leaders of our College ministry were Godly people, serving God and doing their best to be obedient to his will. they would be held accountable for there actions. we were far removed from the persecution the church felt under Nero. we would have been far better suited to humbly submit to them, and serve them by asking them why they were doing things the way they were, trying to persuade them as best we could in a respectful manner, but if they decided against us, it was not our obligation to rebel, but our DUTY to submit and serve.
look at the Example of Christ in 1 peter later in chapter 3
19For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
This is True, God honoring Rebellion. instead of rebelling to gain rights and gain good for ourselves, we should be imitators of Christ in this way: We rebel against the selfish desire to be right, to be justified in the eyes of men, knowing that our submitting to suffering for the sake of the Gospel is Justified in the eyes of our father.
Talk about rebellion in ways that aren't small and centered about our own glory, even as human beings collectively, But Rebel against your very nature! Rebel against the desire to be right, against the desire to usurp the authority that God has given to others and, graciously kept from your grasp.
this should certainly teach us that in areas where we are able to choose our authorities, we should choose very wisely. Where we go to church, who we marry, what job we take, these are all situations where we must use wisdom to guard ourselves from being in situations where we will have to submit to unjust authority. what is frustrating is when people who have placed themselves in these unjust or unfair circumstances seek to justify their rebellion. Divorce because of you married a difficult spouse, causing dissension in a church because the teachings are not "doctrinally sound", complaining about a difficult work environment. these are all situations where we willingly place ourselves under the power of unjust authority. God will not honor your rebelling for the sake of your comfort. and these are all instances where we must Trust the Father, that his wisdom is infinitely more valuable than ours.
I am grateful for the grace that was shown to me and my group of friends. the very leaders I was criticizing led me with grace and humility through a time when I did not show them the respect they deserved. May God be gracious to me and continue to teach me what it looks like to submit to his wisdom and his will.