In class this weekend, we'll be studying 1 Peter 2:13-25 on submission to authorities. Now, I know you're not going to believe this, but this has long been a struggle for me, and Halloween is a prime example of this struggle in my mind. I'll go ahead and say it: I love to prank. I love to toilet paper houses. I love to soap windows. I thoroughly enjoy forking yards. And, as most of you know, all of this is illegal.
The authorities where I come from call this vandalism, trespassing, and creating a public menace.... at least, that's what the officer told me. When I was a teenager, we once "decorated" our teacher's front yard with over 120 rolls of toilet paper in just two tall oaks. His neighbor saw it early in the morning and actually called the newspaper to take pictures before he called the cops. On another occasion, our cross country coach specifically told us not to T.P. his house. So, we creatively honored his request. We found old toilets in a trash dump and (as my dad would put it) "liberated" them from the confines of their present location, only to place them prominently in our coach's front yard. There was no paper to be found.
Maybe this is just my sin nature (which I prefer to call my "rebel" side in reference to topics like this) coming through, but I tend to believe God thought that was pretty funny. Am I wrong?
Getting back to the passage at hand, do you think God had speed limits, no-U-turn signs, and friendly pranking in mind when He commanded us to submit to authorities? For a deep (and much more responsible) exposition on the text, I'll refer to an article from Bible.org. Peter's readers lived under an authority that was growing increasingly intolerant of Christians. There were much more serious matters at hand than just a cop telling a pimple-faced teen to clean up the toilet paper before he drives you home. As I watch our nation slowly turn further and further from God-honoring practices, both in government and in the lives of citizens, I am reminded of these words: "do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" (1 John 3:13). The day may be coming when Christians in America will begin to relate to these passages on the same level their original readers may have.
Labels: 1 Peter