One of the issues I have with the Christian community is they do a poor job of explaining how the Christian Faith, letters to the churches in the Bible and our modern worlds systems/ structures are designed by God to work as a cohesive unit. God has given us our modern systems and he desires them to be interdependent not in opposition or working independently.
Let’s say I am driving my car and not paying attention to what I am doing. As a result I run over a child. The child is not killed, but they are badly injured. Injured to the point that they will never walk again. This person who was driving wildly is responsible for this child’s pain and suffering but also their permanent disability. When I read the scriptures there are so many places that say the child and family should forgive this driver. The child must endure this hardship realizing that Christ too suffered unjustly.
But wait a moment. Our modern legal system says that this person driving the car was not driving safely. They were negligent and are responsible for this child’s injuries and disability. Furthermore our modern legal system is there is hold this person accountable to their behavior. Is it wrong for the parent to seek justice and retribution for their child? Or are they supposed to just accept that this horrible event happened, endure and forgive? Have mercy and grace on the driver for they are a sinner just like themselves.
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers,fear God, honor the emperor.
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:13-21
To me when Peter writes to be subject to every human institution he is saying we as Christian have a responsibility to report misconduct, mistakes, mishaps and neglectful behavior to the appropriate human institutions. We are not responsible for seeking justice, that is what our modern legal system is for. God has given us these systems. Part of obeying the laws of the land is to report misconduct. Furthermore the church should be pointing people in the direction of doing this reporting. The church is responsible for not only listening to people but pointing them in the right direction which should always be to report misconduct. Or in the case of a disabled person or child, to report on their behalf.
Should the child and family show the driver grace, mercy, compassion and forgive him/her? Yes, they should but they also have a responsibility to report to appropriate systems. What if the driver keeps doing what they are doing and runs over another 5 children? Our modern legal system is designed to hold people accountable so that people are protected. God wants us to forgive and have mercy but he also what’s us to protect innocents.