Christians and the rebuking of evil ruler(s)
Upon further reflection…
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I can not help but keep thinking about Luke 3:19,20. It says this,
“19 But Herod the ruler had been criticized harshly by John because of Herodias, Herod’s brother’s wife, and because of all the evil he had done. 20 He added this to the list of his evil deeds: he locked John up in prison.”
Here is what I know about this text:
John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness and calling out to people to change their hearts and actions
He was a prophet of God
He does not seem to have been rebuked or challenged by God, Jesus or Holy Spirit for rebuking Herod, the ruler of day
Herod had a list of evil deeds and putting John in prison added to it. I am not for sure who’s list it was, but someone was keeping score of the evil of Herod. Was it God’s list?
So why talk about this more, Luke 3 is behind us in this reading plan.
Yes, but I have had a few thoughts I want to share about what I feel like is our responsibility as Christians in this world during this day and time.
We must call out and rebuke evil deeds when we see evil deeds in those that rule us. By not saying, “that is wrong” we run the risk of becoming people without backbones and we will appear as though we do not have a moral compass.
I think the rebuking can be done and still be in line with Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 – we can honor the institution and government. Again, I think it possible to say, “This is wrong and I am not going to break the law or overthrow the government.” I am still not for sure how to articulate this, but I think we can call out evil deeds and still remain in line with other places in Scripture.
Evil is not assigned to a particular political party, nor gender, nor race, nor religion. Evil deeds start at a personal level. People carry out evil deeds. People that rule no matter who or what position, platform, or party they represent – evil is still evil. And evil is something that we do not tolerate or dismiss as people that follow Jesus. Romans 12:9: Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good.
I know a lot of people that follow Jesus that affiliate with different parties: I know Christian Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, and Green. I know that I missing some, but you get the point. You can follow Jesus and support different platforms and policies. What has happened in this day and time is that Jesus followers are becoming divided along party lines and forgetting our allegiance is to the Good News of Jesus. The Good News loves without pretending and hates what is evil without remorse. I am afraid that we only hate the other that is not a part of our party, platform or policy.
We must find our collective voice again as the people that follow Jesus. For me, that is starting to claim, in small doses the reality of Luke 3:19,20. I will step lightly and not use it as a weapon, but not remain silent. I will speak up and out of conviction against the evil when I see it arise.
Thus to practice calling out evil, let me say this aloud: The division in the church as a whole must come to an end. We must find unity in our cries against evil and our fight to love others deeply in the name of Jesus. This journey will take us all across lines of party, platforms, gender, race, and religion. We have to hate what is evil and cling to that which is good.
Disclaimer: I am a work in progress. I am trying to name the things I see in reading, praying, journaling, talking, living and leading. I would love to dialogue around these thoughts because I know they are not complete and need some refining. But if I wait to say it all aloud, I miss some conversations I need to make me more whole.
Have a great week,
Kevin A. Parido