Authority. That word may have you wondering: Whose authority?
Our American society seems to have lost respect for authority lately. It's being dissed at high levels of government.
What's uncomfortable about this term is that we're told to submit to authority, and . . . well . . . not everyone in authority has proven worthy of the clout their position affords them.
We used to have clearer lines of authority. Nowhere is it set out so clearly as in the Bible, with regard to work, government, and family relations. In fact the legal systems of most nations today were founded on the law and wisdom set forth in Scripture.
In America, somewhere along the way, we became increasingly mistrustful of authority. Politicians, from the Vietnam Era to the Watergate scandal, misled the American electorate who granted them power in the first place; Parents neglected or beat the very children God entrusted to them; Corporate leaders, who are judged primarily on an economic scale by company shareholders, terminated employees right before benefits vested. Should we be entrusting our lives to these types of authority figures?
The problem is, when authority is not respected, chaos ensues. That played out during the pandemic when seemingly unjust police actions led to riots in the streets, unimpeded looting, and willful destruction of property without punishment to the vandals or recourse to the owners. Children who haven't learned to respect authority often find themselves in trouble with messy lives. And for anyone struggling with submitting to authority, how does he entrust his life to God, who commands all authority?
Individual self-will and pride are central to the notion that one needn't submit to authority. "No one is going to tell me what to do." Peer influence stokes the flames. Mob rule may be the end result.
I see trouble not only behind but also ahead. Is it too late to rein in our rebellion? Let's hope so. It's a one-by-one, grass roots exercise that begins with each and every one of us examining our own heart and deciding to submit it to the Ultimate Authority.