Whenever I talk about obedience, it drives people nuts. When the government or Church clergy is corrupt, it heightens all the more the sense of disgust at the thought of obeying.
Regardless of what we may think of our government, when we are asked to do something that doesn’t contradict faith and morals, we are obliged to obey. In fact, St.Paul and St.Peter tell us it is our duty. These apostles by the way, suffered under a brutal regime that beheaded one and crucified the other in the end. But they still afforded them the respect and obedience out of love of God.
You must all obey the governing authorities. Since all government comes from God, the civil authorities were appointed by God, and so anyone who resists authority is rebelling against God’s decision, and such an act is bound to be punished. ·Good behavior is not afraid of magistrates; only criminals have anything to fear. If you want to live without being afraid of authority, you must live honestly and authority may even honor you. The state is there to serve God for your benefit.St.Paul to the Romans:13:1-7
If you break the law, however, you may well have fear: the bearing of the sword has its significance. The authorities are there to s serve God: they carry out God’s revenge by punishing wrongdoers. ·You must obey, therefore, not only because you are afraid of being punished, but also for conscience’ sake. ·This is also the reason why you must pay taxes, since all government officials are God’s officers. They serve God by collecting taxes. Pay every government official what he has a right to ask-whether it be direct tax or indirect, fear or honor.
St.Paul was not speaking of a Christian government because we know a Christian state didn’t exist in his time. Yet, he still calls the state a body that is there to serve God. It’s clear that St.Paul requires us to obey where obedience doesn’t mean we violate Gods commandments. In St.Peters first letter, he instructs us to honor the emperor who was not even Christian at all and persecuted them. He asks us to do it for the sake of the Lord.
For the sake of the Lord, accept the authority of every social institution: the emperor, as the supreme authority, ·and the governors as commissioned by him to punish criminals and praise good citizenship. ·God wants you to be good citizens, so as to silence what fools are saying in their ignorance. ·You are slaves of no one except God, so behave like free men, and never use your freedom as an excuse for wickedness. ·Have respect for everyone and love for our community; fear God and honor the emperor.1 Peter:2:13-17
Today, we are being persecuted by a liberal government, and many liberal clergy and theologians. It’s understandable that people get their wires crossed when it comes to obedience considering the corruption. Imagine the disgust some Christians felt reading Peters letter at the thought of honoring a pagan emperor who persecuted them?
Today is no different than yesterday, and the human condition is unchanging. In my country our leader is a practicing homosexual who is at the helm of the liberal ship currently plaguing the country. Never in the history of Ireland have we had such an extreme left government. Yet, even during such turmoil when they ask us to stay at home because of covid19 we are obliged to obey. When they come looking for taxes, we are obliged to obey and “be good citizens”.
Obedience and respect, many people assume, relates only to Church authority. As you can see from the above quotes it relates to government authority also. I don’t write this as someone who is perfect in obedience to both, yet still acknowledge its importance and something to strive for. In obedience lies the secret to a perfect relationship with God. I invite you to the same.
Naturally we all have an inclination to command, and a great aversion to obey; and yet it is certain that it is more for our good to obey than to command; hence perfect souls have always had a great affection for obedience, and have found all their joy and comfort in it. –Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the ChurchSaint Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church