Thursday, November 19, 2015

Blurring the Lines

     More than any other thing, I hate injustice.  In fact, I do not know another soul who feels good about all the wrongs in this world.  Yet, the reality is that we live in a fallen world filled with murder, cruelty, abuse, neglect and almost every other unimaginable horror that can be named.  This is why God gave to us His commandments and instituted government that we might be protected.
     Unfortunately, today, the lines are being blurred between different spheres of influence.  There are those who try to apply the principles given to believers in Christ (e.g. Sermon on the Mount) to decisions which rightly belong to government authorities.  Conversely, government has begun to insert itself into the spiritual realm by trying to dictate to Christians a politically correct outlook towards abortion, homosexuality and other issues.  However, there has to be appropriate balance between the spheres of influence in our society.  This is brought out very clearly in Focus on the Family's "The Truth Project".  According to Del Tackett (the instructor in this series), the blurring of spheres often leads to intrusion into areas not meant to be controlled by government as an example.
     Currently, there has been a lot of debate in social media on whether we should take in refugees who are fleeing Syria.  The plight of women and children is especially heartrending for us to see.  As Christians, our desire is to minister to the least of these and reach out with compassion.  We know that Christ instructed us:  "“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).   Our desire is to follow this, but we also must take into account the full counsel of God's Word.  The Bible also says in Matthew 10:16:  "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. "  Before sending out His disciples, Jesus warned them how to conduct themselves in this world.  Therefore, we also need to be wise when it comes to taking action in our current world situation.  This is where government comes into the picture.
     In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul addresses the role of government:  "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?  Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience" (Romans 13:1-5).  From this passage, we learn that God has established government for our good as well as our protection.
     Presently many states have ruled to prevent any Syrian refugees from coming into their area.  Those in leadership positions believe there should be more vetting to make certain a person truly wants asylum in our country for the right reasons and not for the purpose of terror.  Their perspective follows what a government is designed to do - to protect us.  Once these refugees are thoroughly vetted, then, we are free to assist them as believers, thus fulfilling our call to minister to the least of these.  What we must realize is that we cannot  impose our moral mandates on government.  We are to respect their leadership in matters like this because God is sovereign and He will take care of us.
     Let us remember that we must embrace the whole counsel of God's Word  whenever a circumstance arises.  Ultimately, our purpose and joy is to bring glory to God rather than please men.   Allow the government to exercise its scope of authority and trust in God to handle all the rest.  Selah!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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