Silence is golden is an idiom of speech we hear quoted in our culture. It is really a part of an old proverb that says, “Speech is silver and silence is golden.” What if our government in any of its three branches does something contrary to God’s Word or even the rule of law, should we be silent? Shouldn’t we submit to government since they are an authority over us? In yesterday’s lawless Supreme Court ruling removing the ban on same-sex marriage, it is a direct assault on both God’s Word and Constitutional government. Each branch of our government has limited powers and when they act beyond those limits it must be challenged.
The Bible does teach submission to those in authority (1 Peter 2:13, 14) but that doesn’t mean we cannot disagree and vocalize our disagreement. The prophet Daniel and the Hebrew children disagreed with the kings decree not to pray out loud in Daniel 3. The midwives in Exodus 1:7-22 disagreed with Pharaoh’s decree because they feared God and kept giving birth. In the lists of those who did something by faith in their generation recorded in Hebrews 11:17-39 there are many who even disobeyed civil authority, not through anarchy, but through submission to a higher law which is God’s law with their political actions being called “faith.” This is similar to what Christians in the early church did when they said, “we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 4:1-22; 5:17-42 esp. v 29).”
In America, you have to factor in and know who is the government? In case you’ve never heard this phrase it is “WE THE PEOPLE.” Our leaders are supposed to support and defend the Constitution and protect the people with sufficient authority given to them to do that. Political leaders are supposed to submit to the people. They are servants that we give and loan our authority or right to act but they are still accountable to us. We are in charge of our leaders who are representative who rule according to what is defined in the Constitution and by the consent of the governed. A Christian giving submission to the authority of government means involvement in the political process of:
1. We choose our leaders.
2. We influence our laws.
3. We disagree with wrong laws (what is legal isn’t always what is moral) and work to change them.
Not to be involved or to be silent in political process is not a Biblical option. Silence when we should speak up is not something God has always looked kindly upon. Do you remember the story where God told Moses to take the rod and speak to the rock before the people but instead rebelled and smote the rock twice in Numbers 20:6 -13? Moses was punished because he did something God did not tell him to do and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. The interesting thing is that Aaron too was punished and not allowed to enter the Promised Land but his rebellion was that he kept his mouth shut or didn’t let his voice be heard and was held accountable for his silence.