May 17, 2024

Obey the Governing Authorities

Romans 13:1-7

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.

—  Romans 13:1

I have never met a president or a prime minister. (I did see Queen Elizabeth II of England from a distance on two occasions, though!) As a regular citizen, I have little influence over the laws and policies of my country. My vote is just one among millions, and attending policy meetings does little to set the nation’s direction. This is true for immigration laws and policies as well as for most other laws. But just because I do not write my country’s laws and policies, I do not have the right to ignore them or to rebel against them. Even when I think the laws are horrible and destructive, I do not have the right to break them. Thankfully, however, in many countries like mine, people have the right to protest unfair policies. And if a government’s demand is in direct conflict with God’s commands, we must choose God’s way (Acts 5:29). Still, Jesus taught his followers to give to Caesar what was due him (Mark 12:17), even though Caesar may have used taxes for unethical purposes.

Even when we are disillusioned with our government and its policies, we cannot use that as an excuse to treat other people poorly. Whether we are pro-immigration or anti-immigration, for example, the God who told Israel to love the foreigner among them also calls us to do the same, loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Lord Jesus, help us to obey our governing authorities as you did, and to love all our neighbors as ourselves. For your sake, Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!