3 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
“Not of the world, but in the world.” This is a common phrase we hear these days in churches around the world. Paul had just finished talking about God gifting us with grace and forgiveness but he cautions that it doesn’t mean we don’t have to be subject to the rulers of this earth. We live in municipalities, cities, counties, states and countries. We are still subject to the laws of those areas in which we live. We cannot simply steal things we want because we decide to neglect the laws of trade. We cannot kill whomever we want because we can seek forgiveness of it later. It doesn’t work this way. God’s salvation and freedom do not allow us to neglect the common laws of the land.
This is difficult, isn’t it? Especially when we witness or experience misdeeds of those who are in these positions. Yet, we must not forget what Paul just said in Titus 2:9-10, “9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” We are subject to these rules. If you live in a somewhat democratic state, you tend to have laws that also protect personal aspects of life. Regardless of where we live, however, Paul is urging Titus to remind everyone that our obedience is a testament to our relationship with God. Why? Because it shows the patience and temperance we have (Fruit of the Spirit).
I think we all struggle in this area. Our leaders (in church, in politics, in work, or elsewhere) are human just as we are and make mistakes. The difficulty in being a leader is that your mistakes affect more people than just yourself or your family. Our pastor encourages us to continually pray for our leaders, that they would follow the guidance of God in a manner that benefits His will and His plan. He reminds us to first pray for our leaders before we criticize them. A leader has a different view than we do: they see the bigger picture and (hopefully) do their best for the greatest majority of those we they are leading. Our perspective is smaller and through a different lens.
Maybe instead of looking for how our leaders can serve us, we should find a way to help them serve others.