In my recent post about cursing delegated authority a friend asked a question in the comment section. “So what should the people do when authority is corrupt?” What a great question! This has been an age-old query of man. In this fallen world, where none are good, we find men coming into power and their fallenness rises to meet the challenge.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”
Lord John Dalberg-Acton
So how are we to deal with this reality? Or as my friend asked, “What do you do when authority is corrupt?” Well, because it is the condition of man, let’s look how those in the Bible handled this very thing.
Handling Corrupt Authorities
Think of Daniel, David, Esther, Joseph, to name a few. Each of them handled corrupt authorities in much the same way. And through their testimony they gave us a direction. They paved the way for us to deal with these same quandaries. Each of these saints lived intact in the face of brutal authorities and their abuse. And not one of them retaliated by reviling, complaining, or scorning these authorities. So how did they do it?
Each of these individuals lived in a higher realm. They lived above the machinations of man, untouched in their core by the extremes of wickedness. Sure, each of them felt the pain of evil and were affected by these leaders, but all of them maintained a personal stance in the Father’s eye of Authority that was unshaken. Each had a Kingdom view and lived above the fray.
We too can live like this. Our intended position is living from the heavens. Daniel lived under his Authority God, while his corrupt earthly authority set the world ablaze. David lived under his Higher Authority, while his earthly king sought to murder him. Joseph lived under his Heavenly Authority, while a godless pharaoh ruled the land. And Esther submitted to God, while being married to a tyrannical husband and king. Corrupt authorities have no sway on the hearts of those loyal to God’s Authority.
But It Affects My LIFE
“But that is deeply inconvenient and so hurtful!” Yes, it is. Corrupt authorities affect our lives. And our only solution is to seek the Authority above all other authorities. He is God over all, not just what calls themselves His. So do I just let authority hurt me? Did, Daniel, David, Joseph and Esther? Daniel was thrown into a lions den to be eaten and his faithful friends were thrown into a burning furnace. David was hunted like a dog with the intent of murder. Joseph was wrongfully accused of attempted rape and left in prison. Esther stood as God’s choice to live as only one of the wives of a cruel king, while the political forces attempted to wipe the earth of the Jewish people. Each of them experienced the pain of living under corrupt authorities, while standing firm in the Light of The Authority.
If my value system and worth is found in this earthly plain, I will be leveled. Corrupt authorities will abuse, discourage and destroy me. But if I live under the authority of the King of Kings, He will work things together for something so much higher than this plain. It requires faith in The Ruler. An eternal value will be set upon my life, and ultimately those corrupt authorities will be transformed or eventually taken out.
It is impossible to live in this world without facing corrupt authorities. But the good news is that as my face is turned to God’s ultimate authority my yielding to Him will not be in vain. No, just because I submit to the King’s authority, it doesn’t mean I won’t have run ins with the corrupt or evil authorities. But the view beyond the moment will reveal His Lordship even in the corruption. He has the last word always even with the corrupt in power.
For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.
1 Peter 2:19 NIV