As I was driving I was tempted yet again to drive over the speed limit. That seems like such a little thing, so many people do it. I have been told that law enforcement officers give you grace for some miles over and they probably don't really care. What ever we say or excuses that we think of (and I have thought of plenty) it doesn't change the fact that the speed limit is the law. Even when it seems really silly- like the 30 mph speed limit on a road going to our house that is still in the city limits but basically nobody lives in that area and it seems like country. It seems silly but it doesn't change the facts.
I had another area of temptation lately. There is wild rice growing in the river near our house and last Sunday Mara and I planned to go canoeing and I thought it would be very fun to try harvesting a little bit while we were out. I knew that I am not allowed to harvest and sell rice (to my understanding only Native Americans can do that) but I had thought I would be able to go try out doing a little bit of harvesting so I went online and checked out how to do wild rice harvesting. In my looking around however I saw mention of the need for a license to harvest. Really? Well I guess I had better check into it. When I checked into it I found out that in order to harvest any at all I would definitely need a license and that there was also a season and hours in the day that you could do it, you needed to have sticks that were just so and a pushing pole that was made just so. I admit that my first reaction was one of frustration. Why do they always have to make everything so complicated!? But truly I don't know that much about wild rice so maybe these regulations make good sense. However there is a possibility that there is far to much regulation and that it would be good for lawmakers to work to remove some of those regulations. I don't know. But what I do know is this - that is the law right now. That law does not in any way cause me to do something against God's law so I need to follow it. Whether I like it or not.
Why do I believe that I should obey the law? Does scripture really say that?
Yes it does.
1 Peter 2:13-17 is pretty clear on this topic:
"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God honor the king."
Romans 13:1-5 also clearly speaks on this issue:
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefor whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake."
Also check out Titus 3:1 for more on this topic.
I find these scriptures to be quite clear and out of reverence for God, for the sake of my own conscience and so I can be a good example to others (especially my kids) I will try to obey all laws even if they night seem silly or unnecessary.
If laws should dictate however that we do something that goes against what God teaches in the Bible I believe we should obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19). Also I do think there are some bad and stupid laws out there. But that doesn't mean that I think we shouldn't obey the stupid laws. However,we live in a country that is governed by the people so that means if we think something isn't being done right then we have a voice. We are in charge of electing those that govern us - we need to be involved in that (not just at the general election but at caucuses/primaries as well). We also could run for office ourselves. We also can tell our elected officials what we think on issues and encourage them to make good decisions. If we want our country to be run well then it is our job to stand up and make a difference.
DON'T FORGET TO PRAY!
"First of all, then I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." 1 Timothy 2:1
As always... I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.