“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:1-7 [NKJV]
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 [NKJV]
I believe God specifically mapped out how to treat those who practice evil right before discussing how we should handle our corrupt leaders. Reading Romans 13 is extremely difficult for me as I watch the leaders of our country come after our God and way of life. They are attempting to destroy the family, our children, and everything beautiful God has made. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to stand up and fight back, take up my sword and go conquer the evil ones. And God knowing our spirit, that we want to avenge Him and take judgment into our own hands, warns so heavily against this. Not only does he remind us that He is in control, despite who our current “ruler” is, but also that vengeance is His. If we attempt to take it from Him, we will then bring the same judgment He is to inflict upon them upon us. WOW. Talk about something that makes you come to a screeching halt. I know for myself, I immediately begin justifying my good intentions and my desire to defend God and His commandments. But He reminds us that He has it all under control. He goes before us in all things and knows what tomorrow holds. I find myself reacting that way out of fear, wanting to protect myself and my family. However, instead of trying to take on my enemies, I should be focusing on the Lord and He will guide me into the battles HE chooses for me to fight. I have been reminded in almost every study over the past few weeks, that we are to be found blameless before the Lord. And in wanting to condemn the leaders I deem to be evil, I poison my own heart. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:14 to “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” And just like that, all the coal fueling the vengeance train goes cold. God is faithful to correct His children if we have “ears to hear” as he instructs us (Mark 4:23). We are also told in the Bible that His ways are not ours and thank goodness for that (Isaiah 55:8). Imagine if we went avenging all those who we thought had wronged us or God? There would be no souls left to save, and woe is me as I was once one of those lost souls. God is merciful, His plans are deeper and more complex than we could ever comprehend this side of heaven, and His love is reckless. He will stop at almost nothing to save us even in the midst of our sin. So instead of taking up arms and storming the enemy, we should fight the battle on our knees in prayer. We should be praying for our leadership, those who are lost, and the ones on the wrong side of the spiritual battle. We should also be praying for ourselves, that God would give us His heart for ALL people and that we would see them through His eyes and not our own. As hard as it is to watch the story unfold, we have to remind ourselves, that He has already won.