“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
Thank goodness we have God’s grace and mercy on which to rely. If I have to “be subject” to the person who cuts me off on Hickman Rd, because he/she is too busy texting, then I am in real trouble. Do I have to “be subject” to the kid in the car next to me who has this car stereo blaring so loudly that my teeth chatter? What about the people in the Polk County jail? What does it mean to “be subject” to people in North Korea? It couldn’t mean the North Koreans?!
Sadly, the Bible didn’t stipulate a series of exceptions. No, just the opposite. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” No exceptions. Most of the time, God seems too demanding. I struggle with the idea that any of us should “be subject” to a dictator, an abuser, or anyone who is cruel and heartless. Is God asking us to role over and allow the worst of humanity to take over? Does the Holy Spirit fix it all, if we totally roll over and let God control everything? Wouldn’t that just give more Hitlers the opportunity to take advantage?
This is one devotional where I don’t even try to come up with an answer. I believe I should continue to “be subject” to people who test my ability to overcome road rage. Putin, Kim Jung-Un, and Bashar al-Assad, are just three examples of the many dangerous dictators around our world. Where does “being subject” stop and taking control start?
“Being subject” I believe means to have compassion and care for others. That means helping them do what is in their best interest, and what is best for the whole world is what is best for the individual. Being a dictator isn’t in the whole world’s best interest, so “being subject” to the dictator is best served by helping that dictator loose power and control. Helping dictators stop their horrible sins is the best way to “be subject” to them. The challenge is to do it in such a way that does not hurt the masses around them. Remember, each one of the dictator’s citizens are human beings we are called to “be subject” to as well. That means we cannot just blow the dictator’s country off the map. That would dishonor the God who called us to “be subject” to all God’s children.
Today, pray for the difficult situations in our world. From the challenging people we face each day, to world leaders and their diplomatic responsibilities, the Spirit’s guidance needs to be in our midst. Think about the individuals in your life who challenge your patience, or worse, bring out your anger. Think of them as God’s special joys. It will change the way you focus on them. Then, pray for the world’s crises, asking for the Holy Spirit’s intervention. Our world cannot survive its nuclear power unless all of us are “subject” to God.