I hope you’re persisting in the joy, peace & love of Jesus even if & especially when the world around us is considerably less than that.
The Apostle Paul made the news the other day when a verse in Romans 13 was quoted by Jeff Sessions regarding the immigration crisis basically telling people to “obey the laws of the land”. I have no interest in questioning his sincerity or love of God but I was pleasantly surprised to see the almost universal rejection of his misapplication/misinterpretation of the verse, even by his own denomination. That verse has been pulled out to support all sorts of evils including slavery, the Holocaust and the Trail of Tears to name a few.
It’s important to know that in this passage Paul was not advocating for blind allegiance to whatever the government says (especially if “your side” is the advocating it). I can’t unpack it all but here are a few things he was getting at in that passage 1) don’t resort to violence to invoke change because violence is inconsistent with the kingdom of Jesus 2) live at peace as much as possible rather than picking a fight with every issue & everyone every 5 seconds & 3) the law of love for others & especially the least of these (because that is the truest picture of how we think about/treat God) supersedes all other laws of the land. And no matter what “the law” is, we as followers of Jesus should be less partisan & always advocating for policies that reflect love.
And if you think I’m putting words in the Apostle Paul’s mouth think about this: he was arrested, beaten, imprisoned multiple times for resisting the laws of Rome & subverting the authority of Caesar. Oh, and he was ultimately killed for his refusal to play by their rules & for his constant pushback against their system. I’m not sure about you but that doesn’t sound to me like someone who believed we should just go along with whatever the government says.
Our allegiance needs to be to love above all else, love for God which means love, mercy & justice for the least of these. And we must never let our political affiliation (or poor biblical proof-texting) get in the way of that.
Much love to you all, Pastor Chris.