In case you were out on another planet, you heard there was a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday. People are all fired up; celebration on one side and anger on the other. What to do.
Jesus made this crystal clear for us when He walked this earth.
He said that we’re men and women under authority.
Remember when the Roman centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant in Matthew 8:5-13? “For I myself am a man under authority…” he said to Jesus. He was under the authority of his military commanders. Jesus was healing people under the authority of His Heavenly Father.
Then there was the confrontation when Jesus was handed a Roman coin and asked if the Jews were to pay the onerous taxes imposed by their occupiers. Jesus said “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him”. (Mark 12:17)
I think “they were amazed at him” because “his people” thought He would say “Hell no!” and lead a revolution. (He probably wouldn’t have said ‘hell’) They thought he’d head up an insurgency and throw the bums out.
But He didn’t. He validated the fact that we’re all under authority. Then and now.
…and don’t you love the clarity of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’? When you’re under authority and your authority says ‘yes’, you’ve got a green light and you’re off to the races. If it’s ‘no’, then it’s ‘no’. There’s peace in ‘no’. There’s certainty. Closure.
I wish I’d known Matthew 5:37 the first 33 years of my life. Here’s how it goes…
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Ask someone to help you and get a “Yes, I’d be glad to”….it’s like a cool breeze on a hot day. Get a “No, I can’t do that” and it knocks you off balance…for a second. But you recover quickly.
It’s the gray area that causes problems. “…anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Amazing but true. Think about it. It’s in the “gray area” evil gets a foothold. It’s living as close to sin as we can live without “sinning.” It’s not really lying, but maybe not saying all the truth. It’s looking at (another) woman’s beauty just a little too long. Not really wrong, but not really wise either. When it’s open for discussion, it’s open for compromise.
A lot of the frustrating times raising our kids came from the ‘gray area’ when we were inconclusive….when we couldn’t decide. We said ‘maybe’…our kids heard ‘yes’. The fight came when our ‘maybe’ became ‘no’ and their expectations were set on ‘yes’. We said ‘maybe’ because we didn’t want to deal with the backlash from saying ‘no’ right off. All we did was delay the reaction and make it stronger. An early ‘no’ trumps a ‘maybe’ followed by a later ‘no’ every time.
So no matter which side of the healthcare debate you’re on, the country now has clarity. We can put our attention to “how” and get over “if”. I like the slogan of one of the candidates “Believe in America.” I do. And I believe we’ll figure out the “how” and be okay. We’re a nation of laws and we’ve survived and thrived nearly 300 years by submitting to the authority of law. It’s time to do it again.
And next time you find yourself ‘on the horns of a dilemma’, remember Matthew 5:37.
Get to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and let people under your authority know what you decided. They’ll thrive in the clarity of a decisive leader.
Question: What’s your instinctive reaction to authority? As a Christ-follower, what should it be? We’d welcome your comments here.
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