Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:13-16
This passage of scripture intrigued me this morning because I have been thinking about civil disobedience . When is it right for a Christian to peacefully disobey a law? In general, I think the answer is “rarely”. Laws are for our protection. However, there are unjust laws (think civil rights issues in the 1960’s in the South). Those violations of basic human rights demand, as Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently taught us, a godly response to raise the conscience of the public and outcry for justice. But, what about wearing a face-covering during the spread of a new and novel virus? Well, here are the principles Peter laid out. Make sure what you are doing is good. Then, even if you are harmed, intimidated or troubled- you will be blessed by God. First, prepare with a process of sanctification and a logic that is explainable to anyone for the reason and hope within you. Then, do what you do with reverence for authority (never mock or goad peace officers), and operate with gentleness. When we do that, we keep a good conscience and if we are wrongly accused or slandered, in the end, those slanders will be put to shame.
Is there really any legitimate reason I could not ‘set aside’ my rights for the sake of others? Is this the hill I want to die upon?
God, as this day begins- I do love my country and fellow-man. While I recognize the hassle that the current ‘social distancing’ restrictions add to life, they really are not unbearable. Help me always balance my love and advocacy for personal freedoms with the ‘weaker brother’ principle and willingness to follow Jesus’ example of laying down one’s life for the sake of His friends. And when its time to stand for a conviction, I will do it with confidence, knowing You are with me. Now, let’s go do something that makes an eternal difference and glorifies Your very name.