I’m reading this passage that says “accept all authority – the king as head of state and the officials he has appointed…It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you” while I’m waiting for the final inspection by the electrical inspector. So when she comes in and starts taking off all the covers, getting out the ladder and climbing up in the crawl space, looking behind the panels and being incredibly thorough, the electrician looks at me with a kind of worried expression on his face and whispers, “man, she’s tough.” And I’m fine with that because I’m not the electrician.
Then she looks at the brand new speaker cables dropping down from the ceiling and says, “Those new?” Uh. So new they still have a price tag hanging on them, right? So I say yes, we just replaced our old speaker cables. And she says, “Got a permit?” Got a what? Speaker cables – change them all the time, buy them off the rack man…ma’am. No permit. But there’s more! One close look and “Did you know these aren’t up to code?”
“They aren’t UL approved.”
Confession time: I’m busy saying over and over to myself, “accept authority…show respect…God wills for your GOOD behavior to”…and it’s not working! So I work really hard on being polite, asking appropriate questions, clarify what is being stipulated…and to not say out loud what I’m trying not to think! And find something to be thankful for – not too hard, since the next comment is, “You didn’t know, so I’m not going to write up a citation (that’s a ticket with a fine!); just get your permit going and then you’ll have 15 days to get it sorted out.”
It isn’t always something so ultimately trivial though, is it? The things that test our capacity to honor those in authority and show respect for rulers and leaders are sometimes very serious in the impact they have on our lives. But the same principle is at work – living in such a good way that those who would like to criticize and condemn Christians find it hard to accuse us of anything bad is God’s will for us. That requires me to behave responsibly, speak considerately, comply willingly and do it all without the kind of passive aggressive sulking that fools no one. And sometimes I find that I don’t want to do it that way! So just to be inclusive, I wonder what your authority issue was today…what will it be tomorrow…or the next day? And what will mine be? And I wonder, will the people who see us deal with these issues recognize God’s will at work in us? But for now, I’ve got to go online and find that permit application…oh, and if you want to read that passage for yourself, it’s 1 Peter 2:13-17.