By: G. J. Fortier
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 1 Peter 2:13-14 (NIV)
I was sitting here at my computer trying to come up with the most appropriate word to describe the times that we’re living in, and turbulent was the most innocuous one that I could think of. There are many that I had to choose from; Unsettled; Chaotic; Tempestuous; Tumultuous; and the list goes on. I chose turbulent because of my experience flying. I have suffered through, what I considered, some pretty intense turbulence — the sun warms the Earth’s crust, heat rises causing a disturbance in the wind pattern thereby rattling the plane with some intensity — when I travelled on mission to Russia. It was not something that I can say that I enjoyed. However, it was a temporary state of being that passed relatively quickly, and I eventually reached my destination unscathed by the incident. So, turbulent it is.
In the verse above, the writer is telling us that, by submitting to our authorities — police officers; city council members; mayors; state representatives; governors; and so-on and so-forth — we are honoring God. Why?
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1 (NIV)
And by what method does God establish that authority? Well, in this country, we have elections. That is — and I’m aware that at least most of you know this — we, the people go to the polls and vote on which authority figure we want to represent us. Sure, there are times when we hold our noses and vote for the least offensive candidate. But ultimately, we are responsible for putting into office the people who are deciding what laws will define how we live our lives. In other words, it’s all on us. And that’s as it should be. The only problem that I see is that many of us have no idea why we vote the way we vote. We have no idea what the candidate, whose name is listed next to the box within which we “make our mark”, stands for. Most of us simply vote based on which letter of the alphabet is next to their name, be it D, R or I.
This method ain’t good.
So, what should we do about that? I’m so glad you asked.
In the “information age” of today, it’s become exceedingly easy to find out just about anything that you want to know about anyone. Sometimes it might cost a little money, but the thing about political candidates is … they actually want us to know what they stand for. Nearly all of those who are running for office have websites where they have laid out, in detail, exactly what their platform is. It’s as easy as a few clicks of a mouse for anyone to find out everything they need to know about these people before they cast their ballot. Sure, some of them will misrepresent themselves just to get your vote. But you then have the ability — some would call it responsibility — to make sure that what they’re doing with the office that we’ve provided them with is what they said that they would do with that authority.
So, why don’t we do that? The short answer is … we’re lazy.
Recently, I had the opportunity to have lunch with, Shaw Blackmon, the state representative who is responsible for the district where I live. What a privilege it was for me, picking the brain of the man who not only represents me, but approximately 66,000 of my fellow Georgians. Having the God given gift of discernment, I knew instantly that I like him. I found him to be personable, friendly, humorous, intelligent … pretty much everything I look for in a potential friend. I learned that, apart from the common matters of everyday life, we also share some concerns that lay outside the mainstream of public awareness. Things in which the average citizen probably has zero interest. This was very encouraging for me personally. It told me that he was more than mere “window dressing”. He wasn’t just a politician, trying to “make a difference”. He’s a man who cares about the broader issues that don’t affect us now but may sometime in the near future. Oh, and he’s a Christian too, if that means anything at all to you. In short, not only will I be voting with confidence for him again, I also look forward to the day that he seeks higher office; governor; the U.S. congress or senate perhaps. And when he does, he will have my full support.
For obvious reasons, most of us will never have an opportunity to share in my experience — as much as Rep. Blackmon might sincerely want to spend some time with each and every member of his base. But the good thing is … you don’t have to. All you need to do is take as much interest in the people who represent us in government as you do in an average ballgame, movie or reality TV show. Visit their website and read about what they stand for. And if you don’t understand something or have doubts, talk it over with some brothers or sisters. Make sure that you’re comfortable putting your stamp of approval — your vote — on this individual. In the long run, it might just matter more than you can imagine.
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. Romans 13:3 (NIV)
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.