A Minister of God… the government?

Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Here in this passage the apostle Paul teaches us that the institution of human government is a gift from God. It is a part of God’s general grace unto men, and as such we must submit to it when it is possible to do so. Unfortunately it seems as though in our culture today too many have become too dependent on the human institution of government. God never intended for government to relieve individuals of their responsibilities; yet this is exactly what we find to be the case so often.

Just this week a mother had her 12yr old son arrested for getting into the Christmas presents early.

The mother called police Sunday after learning her 12-year-old son had disobeyed orders and repeatedly taken a Game Boy from its hiding place and played it. The boy was arrested on petty larceny charges, taken to the Rock Hill police station in handcuffs and held until his mother picked him up after church…

…She said her son was diagnosed in the last year with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but his medicine does not seem to help. Repeated trips to doctors and calls to various agencies have not produced results, she said.

“He can’t stand authority. He has a really bad attitude,” said the 27-year-old mother, who had the boy while a sophomore in high school. She plans to graduate from York Technical College next year.

“He always blames somebody else for something. I don’t want to see him be another statistic,” she said. “I want to see him be somebody.”

Isn’t that last paragraph interesting. She recognizes that her son always blames someone else for his actions, yet she never even toys with the idea that she might be responsible for the way her son acts. This mother tried to pawn her responsibility off on doctors and various agencies. When that didn’t work she called the government in to punish her son. How sad to see God’s gift of government misused, and His gift of motherhood ignored.

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2 Comments

  1. I find your statement a little troubling: “She recognizes that her son always blames someone else for his actions, yet she never even toys with the idea that she might be responsible for the way her son acts.” Parents do have a responsibility to parent their children with godliness and to instruct them in the Scriptures, but the ultimate responsibility for bad behavior lies with the person himself. Regardless of how his mother raises him, he cannot blame her for his behavior. It seems that both the mother and the son have responsibilities, but neither one of them can use the responsibility of the other one as an excuse for neglecting his/her own responsibility.

    It seems you’ve emphasized the responsibility of the mother over that of the twelve-year-old. It’s a bit presumptuous to say that the mother has ignored the gift of motherhood. She may not know HOW to mother her child but that does not mean that she is not attempting to mother him. There is a difference of intention between a mother who employs poor methods and actions in parenting her child and a mother who employs no method and takes little action – even if there is no difference in the result. As I read comments from the mother such as: “I want to see him be somebody” and “I only want positive things out of it. … I’d rather call myself than someone else call for him doing something worse than this” I do not see a mother who has ignored the gift of motherhood. She may have no clue how to raise her son but it appears that she is trying to take responsibility even if she is asking the government for help (a hopeless plea).

  2. Fraiser,

    Thanks for the comment; I always enjoy a dialogue rather than a monologue.

    Quite frankly I am not sure I see your point. I did emphasize the mother’s responsibility heavily, but that was what the post was about. Had I more time, or a different forum I could have emphasized the son’s responsibility, man’s sin nature, the representative nature of Adam’s sin, the imputation of Christ, etc. My point is, do not take this emphasis as an exclusion of the son’s responsibility but rather a highlighting of the mother’s responsibility.

    Also, I understand the difference between a mother “who employs poor methods and actions in parenting her child and a mother who employs no method and takes little action – even if there is no difference in the result.” (Often times I look back at my own parenting choices as poor). But in this case is there much of a difference? The woman may have had the best intentions but her method was to have someone else try to help her son. That seems to me to be little action.

    I can’t imagine being in this young ladies position. To have a child as such a young age and to have no support from the father puts a mother in an almost impossible situation. And in the end I think that we can both agree that the only solution that will adequately help this young boy is the power of the Gospel. It is my prayer that this family will come to this solution by God’s grace.

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