Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
~Romans 13:1~

When I was young my family belonged to a church we loved. My dad, a CPA by trade, served the church by helping on the financial board. During that time he came across a horrifying, and for me, wounding secret. The pastor of our church had been embezzling funds. Many were deeply hurt, and the church itself split.

Many members left, placing their trust and hope in other churches. My family though, my dad in particular, never attended regularly again. So deep was his wound, that it kept him from enjoying any fellowship from believers. An authority figure he trusted and loved had betrayed him, and that was the end of his trust for any Pastor or church authority in general.

Authority is one of the hardest concepts to teach about because of the potential for it to be abused, and it has been for eons...badly. Kings have abused subjects, religious leaders have abused congregations, and men have badly abused women, and there are wounds, deep wounds that occur when someone in authority abuses us, and it can become infinitely difficult to trust anyone who has the potential to hurt us. Like my father, the tendency becomes to shut down.

But this reaction is not only hurtful, it's unbiblical. The only person we hurt, when we let wounds like this fester is ourselves. My father kept himself isolated from church, a church he had previously loved for years, all because of one man's weaknesses. He wasn't any happier or any better for his distrust. He was worse.

What if an authority figure is wrong, you ask. What if? Authority figures are human. You're boss is human, your Pastor is human, your husband is human. Let's get this out of the way. They will be wrong. They will mess up. They will make wrong decisions, because they're human. Saul, for instance, messed up. But David, the rightful King said he "refused to raise (his) hand to God's anointed." I don't think David said that simply because of his respect for Saul, but because of his immense trust in some One who was greater than Saul, or any king that would ever live.

The key to being able to submit to authority is to know in whose hands the real authority lies. It comes down to this simple question: Do you trust God? Do you trust Him to take care of those in authority who abuse it? Do you trust God to protect you? Do you believe He is a good God? If the answer is yes to all of these question, it becomes easy to submit to authority because we know who is truly in control.

This isn't to say that there is a time, place, and a necessity to challenge authority, especially if there is clearly abuse or moral wrongdoing. But regardless of whether it's addressed, forgiveness and healing are essential to be able to trust again and forgiveness can come even if an apology never does. Forgiveness is simply placing that person in God's hands, authority or not. It's entrusting God to take care of that person, and giving grace where it needs to be given.

Doing that leaves us blameless, free to submit to the authorities we must because we have a higher authority who loves, protects, and assures us safety, because we serve a good God.


  1. Hi.. I stumble upon your blog by looking for Christian Woman blogging. I was supposed to message you on your latest post to ask if we could be friends or affy or exchange link but this topic caught my eyes.

    And after finishing reading it I realize that I was crying. You see... I too got hurt from a Church authority like your dad. But I moved on and went to another church... the thing is they kept bothering us. Commenting bad things... though I thank God now He has made me really busy with my new publishing house.

    I was once a leader who is very reluctant but God has chosen me. As I became one, many people started to criticize me but I kept serving God for 6 years in that church. They kept telling me that I love the power/authority. But the truth is I dont care if I am a member, worker or a leader of the church. What matter is I am serving God faithfully.

    Then something happened, these leaders were successful in poisoning many people's mind. So I decided to find another church. But the thing is they still don't stop bothering me.

    I'm not desperate because I see how God is blessing my life now.

    but seeing your post "Do you trust God? Do you trust Him to take care of those in authority who abuse it? Do you trust God to protect you? Do you believe He is a good God?" It really comforted me.

    Thank you so much. I wish one day... I will be able to write lovingly like you once again....

    God bless you and thank you for the
    wonderful post...

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