Day 95: Evil In Government

Acts 16:37-40 :

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, without a trial, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison! Do they now release us secretly? No, most certainly, but let them come themselves and bring us out!”

The sergeants reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans, and they came and begged them. When they had brought them out, they asked them to depart from the city. They went out of the prison, and entered into Lydia’s house. When they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them, and departed.

After beating up Paul and Silas, they decided to let them go, but Paul decided to not let the magistrates get away with what they had done.

Paul and Silas didn’t complain to God about their beatings or their stay in jail, but they also didn’t let the ones who did wrong get away with it either. It is important to understand that Roman citizens had special rights in the empire and those rights had been publicly violated. Notice that Paul didn’t simply “turn the other cheek.” Evidently, “turn the other cheek” doesn’t apply here. He also didn’t just try to make peace or honor the position of those in authority.

We read that Paul made the magistrates beg them to leave, but instead, they talked to people in the city. Paul let the law stand in the presence of those who were abusing it and didn’t let evil men take his rights away through intimidation. Paul and Silas were also not afraid to stay in town and encourage their friends. Here we can easily see why non-Christian governments oppose Christianity. A non-Christian is less likely to expose the evil that takes place in a government that thrives on it. Christians know they have authority directly issued from a Higher Power, but they still attempt to live by the laws of the land as much as they can. When the laws of the land are clearly violated, Christians should expose the wrongdoing and continue to operate under the freedom the law provides.