Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
- Romans 10:3
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
- Romans 13:5
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- John 13:34-35
Once upon a time, a long time ago, or was it quite recently?
Whenever the timing, let us say that there is a television channel that so wants to be the first to report on a natural disaster that they stage their reporters where the disaster might hit. And let us say that one of those reporters was a two-trick pony.
The first trick is that he asks the Christians of the community how they feel now that they have lost everything. The Christian responds that they are blessed by God and God will see them through. He then repeats the question, over and over until the Christian breaks under the pressure and says, “How do you think I feel! I just lost everything!” And as they cry, the reporter has the audacity to give them a hug, and say something like, “There, there!”
The second trick is for him to stand in the street, blocking recovery efforts to report on how slow the government is in fixing things and how if we gave our freedom away to the government, the government would put people’s lives back together much faster. In the meantime, the faith-based workers, with no help from the government, are walking around him putting people’s lives back together with no mention that they are there by the reporter.
I am not saying there is such a channel on television, or that there is such a reporter. This is a fable after all.
Now, the next natural disaster is a blizzard on a mountain top in southern California. They had not had one of those in about 35 years, so let’s send our most obnoxious…, oops, our top-notch reporter to southern California to cover the blizzard, getting there a day before it was expected.
The reporter and his camera crew drive their SUV halfway up the mountain and a policeman stops them to instruct them to put on their tire chains, which by law they had to have in their vehicle. (It was a rental who had cut a few legal corners.) The reporter flashes his credentials, which he thinks gets him past all roadblocks. The policeman does not think that to be funny. The SUV is forced to turn around and go to the nearest auto parts store to buy tire chains.
The reporter had never heard of tire chains, had never seen them, and had no idea how to install them. Neither did anyone in the camera crew. The auto parts people said that they had to put them on when they got to the chain requirement stop, so the auto parts people taught these guys how to install the tire chains. They retrace their route and put the chains on the tires at the appropriate location and they get to the mountain top resort to await the blizzard.
But first, the studio personnel check in with the reporter. Instead of mentioning anything about wind, snow, etc., the reporter tells his tale of woe, and the studio people explain that chains are required, especially in mountainous areas. It is hard to maintain plowed roads when the snow falls that fast. A stalled vehicle on a two-lane road can easily make travel in both directions impossible. And of course, sliding off on the cliff side could be deadly. So, chains give you traction over snowpack (inches or feet of packed snow on the roads).
The reporter did not believe what they said. After all, they were studio people. They were not there on the mountain. He had been required to purchase chains by the government. He had no freedom. He had to place the chains on the vehicle. He might have gotten a hangnail! One horrible law after another that forced him into doing what he did not think necessary.
In the next “in the field” segment, he interviews someone from the state’s department of transportation. Instead of asking about what techniques they use in keeping the roads clear and traffic moving, he asked about this stupid tire chain law. She gave the same answer that the studio people gave.
In the next “in the field” segment, he talks to a water conservation expert who monitors snowfall. He lets him talk a little about how the snow in winter stores the water and then as it slowly melts, it fills the reservoirs and aquifers, the more snow the better. But then he interrupts him with his tire chain saga. The PhD water conservationist is confused. Everyone should know the benefits of tire chains. So, he says the same thing everyone else had said.
Do you see the hypocrisy? He badgers Christians until they break down, showing weakness in their faith, but anyone might feel a bit weak when they have lost everything. He ignores the faith-based teams that are putting peoples’ lives together, and even gets in their way, and preaches on how if we give our freedom away to the government, the government will put peoples’ lives together. But as soon as his freedom is infringed upon, he totally loses his mind with anger, forgetting why he was there in the first place. He was a one-man Don Quixote fighting the windmills that were set up for his own protection.
I grew up in Mississippi. We are talking about Mississippi, where they might get a flake of snow or two every third year. And I learned how to install tire chains in drivers’ education class. You never know if there might be a blizzard in Mississippi, none yet, but maybe next year! I have no idea what rock the reporter crawled out from underneath. Oh, wait. This is a fable, and this reporter does not really exist. But if he did, it would be high comedy that makes the “Dumb and Dumber” movies look somewhat intelligent.
When I moved to Washington state, we got there in winter. When we got our drivers’ licenses a month or two later, we were told that we had to have tire chains in the car at all times, especially going over the passes toward Seattle. We lived in the high desert. By this time, the weather was far above freezing and no clouds in the sky, but in warm, short-sleeve weather, we went to the auto parts store and bought tire chains. We kept them in the trunk of the car. When we sold the car, the people at the dealership took everything from our trunk and placed it in the trunk of the new car, including the tire chains that fit our old car and not our new one. If the reporter would like to come by our humble home, we have a set of chains in our basement that we are not using.
People point the finger at Christians, like when they cry due to losing all their worldly goods, saying that we do not live up to the standards that we set for ourselves. Since they will not forgive anyone else for their shortcomings, and think they themselves have none, Christians have to be perfect, or they are hypocrites.
But when this reporter was exposed to the results of the type of government control that he preached, he did not like it. He fought against it. It became his personal mission to rid the world of tire chains.
The quickest way to find out that totalitarian government control is oppressive is to live under that type of governance, but then it is too late.
And before you claim all Christians are hypocrites, remember that many who call themselves Christians have never really met Jesus. But of those who are true believers, we all have our bad days, and we all make mistakes, but our heart is in the right place. We love Jesus. We love our fellowman. And we even love fictitious reporters who report an agenda instead of the news.
Not counting the Great Commission, what was Jesus’ last statement about a new command that He gives to us? Love one another.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
That’s quite a story
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Maybe real, maybe cautionary. We all get on soap boxes at times.
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