I will never forget Halloween night 2001, when we suddenly heard a loud crash out on the street in front of our house. I was about to go outside to investigate when I noticed there were already blue and red lights flashing on the wall. I opened the door and was shocked to find five police cars parked out front, one mangled bicycle, a broken tail light on my pickup, and a grown man wearing a monster costume crying on the curb. What was going on?
Apparently, the guy’s girlfriend had just broken up with him so he got drunk, hopped on his bicycle, and went to her house in a costume to scare her — so she called the police. When the police showed up he tried to outrun them on his bicycle and promptly crashed head-on into my parked pickup truck. When they found drugs in his pocket, he started to wail, “Oh man, don’t tell my grandma! She’s gonna kill me!”
As he was being arrested, one of the police officers asked me if I wanted to press charges against him. “It’s all right,” I said. “His girlfriend broke up with him, his bicycle is totaled, he’s being arrested for drug possession and DUI, and he has to face the wrath of his grandma. He’s already in enoughtrouble as it is!”
Praise God for the police because whether they realize it or not, they are God’s ministers, ordained to watch over
those who are made in His image. Paul states in Romans 13:4, “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”
The Greek word for “minister” in verse 4 is diakonos, which is the same word used to describe the servant of asking. Twice in this verse, Paul reminds us the authorities are God’s ministers — servants of the King! As such, they are His avengers on those who practice evil. The Greek word for “avenger” is ekdikos, which can also be translated, “punisher.”
For those who represent the governing authorities, remember that your power doesn’t come from the government, or even the people; rather, your authority comes from God, so be just and wise in your application of that power, for you will be held accountable for how you wield it. And for those who are the governed, never forget to show the proper respect for those who are in authority, whether or not they are believers. “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” Romans 13:1.