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April 20 | Romans 13:1-10


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


What's Wrong with the World?

by Mary Alice McGinnis


As a five-year-old little girl, I remember thinking, “When I become a parent, I am never going to say no, punish my kids, or prevent them from doing something they want to do. I will let them do whatever they want. I will be the perfect parent.”


How do you suppose that worked out for me?


Right!


Even when my kids were seemingly innocent babies, I had baby gates to restrict them from falling down the back stairs or to prevent them from chasing the cat. I did not allow the older child to hit the younger one with a plastic baseball bat. I made rules and protective boundaries. I gave them the discipline that I thought was appropriate. All because I love them.


I was FAR from the perfect parent. Sometimes I got angry and lost my temper. Sometimes they hurt themselves or were hurt by others due to my negligence. But God gave me these children to watch over, care for, and protect anyway.


Don’t we often think things like, “What’s wrong with this world anyway? Our world would be a better place if ...” Maybe it is having the “right” people in government office or the right laws. The perfect neighbors, place to live, siblings, spouse, church. The list could go on and on.


I find today’s reading challenging. It tells me to “be subject to the governing authorities.” Just like my five-year-old self, I don’t like submitting to anyone. Let alone to those who are in places of authority that are far less than perfect, and sometimes just plain corrupt.


What do you think the Roman government was like in Paul’s day? This evil empire was known for brutally, even slaughtering Christians. Yet he says, “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” What? How can Paul say it was established by God?


When Jesus He stood before Pilate said, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” How was Jesus able to submit Himself to the authority of Pilate and the judgement he would bring upon Him? The end of 1 Peter 2:23 tells us, “He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” Even though those in authority are less than perfect, God is still ruler and authority over all.


Today's passage caused me to ponder another question. What really is wrong with the world anyway? Why do we need parents, bosses, police, lawmakers, and governments anyway? Why do we need stop signs, courts, and all kinds of rules and laws?


Remember back in Noah’s day before the flood? Genesis 6:5 tells us, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”


If we had a world where we did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, it would turn to total chaos—because of the inclination of our hearts. By nature, we do NOT love the Lord our God above all else. We are selfish, self-seeking individuals who put ourselves above loving others.


“Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”


If we want to know what’s wrong with the world, we need to look deeply into the mirror and say, “I am what is wrong with the world.” 


What if we truly realized the depths of our “wrongness?” Look at the cross. See Jesus hanging there offering to God His life in payment for the tremendous debt we owe. Knowing the weight of our crushing debt has been lifted, how does that liberate your and me to live differently?

 

“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”


PRAYER

Bring to God today the ways you have failed to love God and your neighbor with your whole heart. Confess it before Him right now. Then lift your heart in praise to the One who paid our debt. Ask Him to show you how He wants you to give your money, honor, respect and love as a sign of how He has lifted this crushing debt from your soul.







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1 Kommentar


robin.lorms
20. Apr.

Good afternoon, Mary Alice.

I have and continue to struggle with today's passage. Submit to the authorities is a concept I am ready, willing and able to do with joy so long as the "authorities" are reasonable honest, competent, have integrity of the average person, know how to deal with adversity and threatening situations and are gifted with the gift of leadership. Wonder why I struggle when we consider out national representation of current or potential leaders? So, I do have to look inside myself and ask, " Are you any better that those in power or seeking power in gov't"? Hmmm maybe I am not as good as I think but Washington D.C. has a level of incompetence seldomly…


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