“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” (Titus 3:1-2 NKJV)
As we read Paul’s words here, it’s important to remember that this book was probably written after Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. It would be easy for Paul to feel bitter about his situation. It would have been easy for him to say “I’ve seen the evil among the rulers and authorities: RESIST!” Instead, Paul’s message is one designed to foster the spread of the gospel instead of making it a target for ruling authorities. It’s a simple solution to spreading the gospel: live at peace, inasmuch as it’s possible for you to do so, with the ruling authorities. I have no doubt that were the ruling authorities to make laws contrary to good order or spreading the gospel, Paul would say that we should obey God rather than men, but in all other areas we should be subject to the ruling authorities. He reminded Titus and others who would read this message that we should be ready to do good works, not speak evil of anyone, and to be peaceable and gently while we show humility to all. Our job is not to make ourselves look great; our job is to proclaim the greatness of our God.
I’ve gotta admit – sometimes when I write these devotionals, I have someone in mind: someone who needs to read and heed the message because they’re not living right. Today, that someone is me. I have a hard time when Paul tells us to speak evil of no one. I say in the back of my mind, “But Paul you don’t know <insert name of politician or other person who’s ticked me off.> If you had known someone like him/her, you would have…” Remember that Paul wrote this after his first trial before Nero. Let me just say that it doesn’t matter which party you support, if any, none of those people are as bad as Nero was. The problem for Paul was that if Christianity became known as the “Anti-Nero” of the anti-anything religion, he would have closed the door to the gospel to a segment of the population. I have strong political opinions, but I avoid voicing them, lest the most important message, the message of Jesus Christ, be confused with political opinions, although I will comment on moral concerns. I’ve seen people on both sides of the aisle equate their party with God’s ways. Let’s be honest: both parties have some pretty rotten people and stand for some pretty rotten things – just as both parties have some great people and stand for some great things. Our job, no matter what the governmental situation may be, is to live at peace with the government so that we can do good works and show all people the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Lord, work in me so that I will always speak grace and kindness to others. Let me focus all that I do on sharing Your love and grace.