“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.” Zechariah 7:9 (NLT)
How are we to handle a situation where our call to respect authority and our call to be compassionate to those in need seem to be in conflict? In the United States, citizens of age have a civic responsibility to vote and determine the course of the nation and its policies via our government. As Christians, we have an eternal citizenship that we have responsibilities toward as well. When conflict between the two arises, we must put God first, but we can do so humbly and respectfully. God does not wish for meanness, violence, or hardness of hearts to separate us from each other.
An example to consider is that of Daniel. Daniel was taken to Babylon to serve the king and many times he respectfully abstained from the customs and rules of the palace when they conflicted with his faith. When he disobeyed a direct edict forbidding the worship of anyone but the king, God saved him even in the midst of facing the consequence of being sent to the lion’s den (Daniel 6). When we find ourselves similarly caught between what the law decrees and what God has commanded, we must find a similar path to serve God first while being respectful of the authorities we have been placed under.
Prayer: Lord, allow me to find wisdom like Daniel. Help me to find the path to walk that keeps me faithful to you and your commands while being respectful of those in authority and those with whom I disagree. Help me to remember that we are all children of God, worthy of compassion, and that your commands come before my feelings. Amen.