Romans 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
I love the game of soccer. I played competitively for many years and then eventually coached and refereed. As much as I love the game, there are things I am ashamed of when I watch the game globally. There are things that many players do that, in my opinion, bring embarrassment to the game. Firstly, they are wimps. Perhaps its because I grew up in a hockey culture, but if I got hit hard, I’d be up on my feet in a millisecond. It was up to the ref to make a call if there was a foul. I watch “professionals” roll around on the ground like their leg was cut off only to see the replay that they were barely grazed. I am also embarrassed at their treatment of referees. My Irish brother-in-law tells me he detests watching soccer because he can’t stand watching the disrespect players show the officials. It is not uncommon to see half the team up in the referee’s face after an unfavorable call, screaming obscenities at them. Where is the honor?
I have been deeply saddened recently watching the behavior of some who call themselves “Christians”. I take the name Christian very seriously because if I claim to wear that uniform, I represent the one I follow – Christ. The Apostle Paul spent much time instructing the new Christian church with what their lives should look like as followers of Christ. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2: 12).
We are in the midst of a global pandemic. There are so many factors to consider when deciding what action to take. There are serious implications if we just carry on as normal (Italy, Spain, Brazil, and many parts of the U.S.) have shown that the healthcare system was unable to support the spike in cases and many people needlessly died. On the other hand, there are economic and mental health realities that must be considered. My wife and I often comment that we are not jealous of those in authority who are required to make decisions today. What saddens us is when Christians choose to defy those in authority, simply because they disagree. Asking all citizens to “mask up” is an inconvenience, definitely uncomfortable, but is it really an affront to your Christian beliefs? I have done a great deal of business with Asian cultures and I was always impressed by their use of masks when they were sick with even a common cold. They understood it greatly reduced the risk of them spreading it. They were honoring those around them.
How much more should we as Christians, honor those around us and those in authority by being a little uncomfortable?! Here is what the world looked like when Paul lived. The ruler Claudius executed his wife because she married another guy while he was on a trip. Claudius had no wife, so he married his niece Agrippa. She got tired of Claudius and poisoned him so her son Nero could come into power (Nero would eventually torture the Christians in Rome). In this context Paul wrote:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. Romans 13: 1-3