I realize somewhere along the line I threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. It probably happened in the turmoil of the 60s when the mantra of peace and love also included a charge to “question authority.” Once Pandora’s Box was opened, legitimate questions surrounding the establishment progressed into an ongoing state of rebellion toward anyone and everything connected to it. Consequently, at times I find myself dishonoring positions when I disagree with the behavior of the people holding them. This is not only unhealthy, but also unbiblical.
David certainly got it right. In spite of Saul’s determination to kill him, time and time again David refused to take Saul’s life when he had opportunity. Even when his men encouraged him to take Saul out, David responded, “The Lord forbid that I should…lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Samuel 24:6). On one occasion when David found Saul sleeping, one of his soldiers offered to thrust his spear right through him, but David rebuked him. “Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26:9).
Although Saul’s behavior was reprehensible, David knew the position of King demanded honor. I believe it was David’s honoring of the position that made him the great ruler he eventually became.
Observers have noted that more than anything, Americans value freedom. The formation of our country was rooted in resistance to monarchy of any sorts. We want presidents, not kings. But Scripture warns us not to use our freedom as a cover-up for evil. Because we disagree with authorities, be it “emperors,” “governors,” or “presidents,” we are not licensed to dishonor God by dishonoring their position (1 Peter 2:13-14).
When we treat others—including authorities—with the same disrespect others do, we look a little less like Jesus and a lot more like the world. There is nothing wrong with questioning authority. Blind obedience never produces good fruit. But no matter how much we differ from those over us, our questioning must not lead to dishonoring.
Respecting others, loving fellow believers, fearing God and honoring positions of authority causes us to live up to our position…..children of the Most High.