What Kind of Loyalty do we owe the government?

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by bwallac2335, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    So my girlfriend and I were talking about this this morning and disagreeing. I had to fill out some forms for a minor injury at work. I dislocated a finger. No big deal really. But I was a bit sarcastic on the form and said that the only other injury I had was my head hurt from filling out these forms. She says that I am not respecting the government and authority over me. I don't really see it that way I did do what they asked but I do get annoyed with forms. So how does this go? I only see my loyalty extending to following laws and only those laws that are in accordance with Christian belief. I don't see sarcasms against it as wrong.
     
  2. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    The emphasis I've noticed in places like Romans 12 is that don't respect "the state" but our "leaders." Respect for our officials and their offices is simply a particular form of the honor/respect that St. Paul taught we owe to everybody. Respecting every policy or decision or law is another matter - there is not reason (I know of) that we must "honor" the civil laws apart from simple obedience. There is no special agape love for the State that we're supposed to have underlying our civil obedience, unlike how our agape love for God is supposed to underlie our obedience to the law of Christ.

    This may be a religious/cultural feature of your gf's upbringing - did you say elsewhere she is/was a baptist? Conservative evangelicals like them do tend toward a form of statism that is unwarranted, or at least not commanded, in the Bible.
     
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  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    Yes but she did mention a week or two ago that she missed the Anglican Service because of the scripture reading.
     
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  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    I owe allegiance and care for our leaders. I submit to their rule, unless they ask me to be unchristian, but I don't read it as I can't criticize and how to show them some form of odd deference that is not prescribed in the law. Do I read this wrong?
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    How does that make sense?..
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    So, you wrote something sarcastic and flippant on a company form? I don't see it as a moral dilemma. However, one should be conscious of the company's culture and attitudes toward the writing of such comments, for in some instances it can be unwise. Discretion is called for if any repercussions could result (including failure to get a future raise or promotion, for example). Fact is, such comments rarely produce desired change so the only likely upside is a bit of momentary personal satisfaction, but since (as the saying goes) "nobody likes a smarta__" the risk of a downside tends to outweigh the upside.

    I can't claim to have followed my own advice at all times in the past, however! :blush: For example, one time I was so teed off about a programming change IT made, I fired off a really sarcastic email to IT and sent a copy to the company president for good measure! :doh: I would like to think that I'm learning something from my past mistakes, however.... :wub:

    Come to think of it, if there is a moral component to our sarcasm, perhaps it's just the potential for someone in the company who sees it to think, "Wow, I thought he's supposed to be a Christian, but that doesn't sound very Christian-like." It takes very little to cause others to find some reason to accuse believers of hypocrisy or lack of love.
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We don't OWE any government ANY 'loyalty'.

    Gratitude perhaps, if it is good government. Obedience to its law, if it is legitimately instituted, Godly government. Respect, if it is itself respectful of the people it governs.

    Jesus Christ is the only 'government' that I owe anything and everything too, since he is the only one that has 'bought and paid the price' for my unquestioning loyalty.
    .
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    So you think that Jesus or John the Baptist and all the prophets and Apostles were never sarcastic or rude to complacently godless people?

    OK then. :unsure::hmm:
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That might not present a proper equivalency to how we Christians are generally supposed to act. Fruits of the Spirit include love, peace, patience, and self-control. Colossians 4:6 counsels us, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt;" as salt makes food taste better, so our communications should make Christ (whose ambassadors we are) look better and the Gospel message easier to accept.

    I'm not saying that rudeness or sarcasm are sinful. Yet, although "all things are lawful... not all things are expedient," (1 Cor. 10:23) and we should try to avoid doing things that can 'cause to stumble' those of weaker (or no) faith.

    Thanks, I needed to be reminded of these things as much as anyone else. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit unclear; were these forms going to a government agency or to some department of the company where you work? Who created the forms and who requires their completion?

    I suppose, if they're going to be read only be some underling in a government office who doesn't know you from Adam, then no harm done. I've been assuming that they would land in some 'upstairs office' at your place of employment.
     
  11. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    I should point out that my family owns the company I work for and it was an insurance form.
     
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  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    At an Anglican Service a OT, NT, Psalms, and Gospel reading are read. Most protestant services don't have near that
     
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Ok. I appreciate that. My point really is that if we are to be truly Christlike in our behaviour, we will know exactly when 'bluntness' or 'sarcasm' is required from us when dealing with difficult people, and also when compassion and tolerance is called for. (Admittedly tolerance and compassion are more often the correct and effective response).

    We are not required though to be permanently anodyne to the degree of being ineffective witnesses to the truth. To not confront wickedness, prejudice, injustice and bigotry but merely harmlessly and soothingly avoid controversy, argument, critism and conflict by innocently adopting an attitude of bland passivity, would not be 'Christlike'. Jesus was often blunt to the point of being downright insulting but he didn't do it for pleasure or for relieving a bad temper. He did it to shock others into re-evaluating their attitude and actions with regard to the will of God and to the betterment of their own character. The key difference between Him and us was that Jesus KNEW the will of God, and we nearly always don't. That is why it is generally safer to assume that we are not required by God to point out to others their mistakes or pecadilloes, since we usually have enough of our own to contend with.
    .
     
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  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Oh, ok, thanks. Someone at the insurance company will see it. No big deal then.
     
  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In principle we are called to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.

    In general we are called to work within the confines of the state, which certainly includes obedience to the law - recognising that there are times when a law is unjust and needs to be challenged. What we are not called is to be mindless. For those of us who are privileged to live within a democratic system we have the advantage of having a say in how we are governed.

    This has the reality that we may at times be doubtful, or clearly cynical about what the governing authority of the day presents. That is our democratic right, and at times I suspect duty.

    I recall at one stage working in the public sector, I needed a 30 minute break for a medical consult, and the paperwork for this only took two hours to complete.

    Put not your trust in princes : nor in the sons of men, who cannot save.
     
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  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Scripture gives us the following guidance:

    Romans 13:1-7 - "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

    1 Peter 2:13-17 - "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."

    However, the same Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 5, when confronted with the charge that he disobeyed a Council's strict order to cease preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is recorded as saying, "We should obey God rather than men."

    Matthew 22:21 - [Jesus says] "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

    I believe the message is clear that Christians have a duty to honor the men and women that Providence has saw fit to make us subject to and to obey their lawful commands. Rebelliosness is not the mark of a Christian. However, that obedience is secondary to our duty to obey God an when the two authorities conflict, we are to obey God's law rather than the State's.

    To be honest, I have a hard time with this doctrine, given my natural bent toward libertarianism and distrust of democracy and man-made institutions. But I do my best and ask God for help when I get heartburn praying for the current members of Congress and the President. I trust in God and lean not on my own understanding in these areas. lol
     
  17. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    If as you later explain your family owns the company and the form was for insurance where does the government fit in? If it was
    Why are you asking an insurance company for a pay out?
     
  18. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Romans 13 is helpful here.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Written before the persecutions began. Written by a Roman citizen with, (at that time), respect for Roman Law. Respecting legitimate authority is the duty of every Christian, but meek compliance with corrupt rule is an abdication of responsibility to Christ and his teaching. We should not be ashamed to oppose corrupt governments. If we are ashamed to oppose them, Christ will be ashamed of us. Mk.8:38, Lk.9:26. They are not instituted by God any more than that 'fox' Herod was instuted by God. Lk.13:31-32. He got there and stayed there by murdering most of his family.
    .
     
  20. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    The persecutions of God's people began long before that as Paul himself knew it. Peter also writes on this. Furthermore you'll note that no Christian advocated rebellion or violence in the face of persecutions until Christianity was legalized under the Edict of Milan. You're imposing a very modern Enlightenment reading on the text that doesn't fit.

    Lastly, you contradict Sacred Scripture when Saint Paul writes that all authority is instituted by God. You can claim whatever opinion you'd like for yourself, but you cannot mangle what Scripture plainly teaches.
     

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