Don't Like A Law? Disobey It I


Our society's morality is declining.  Most people recognize this.  One telling indicator is the way people treat laws.  Far too many citizens flaunt civil law.  If they don't like a law they will disobey it.

When confronted with laws that are unpopular people actually have three choices as to how they will deal with them:


If they don't like a law they may still choose to obey it.  As far as civil powers in America are concerned it's OK for citizens to complain as long as people obey the laws.  The Bible teaches that we must obey the laws of the government (Romans 13:1-7).  That is, unless they are contrary to God's commands or prohibitions.  For example, the apostles were forbidden to teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18; 5:28).  However, they disobeyed man's command and obeyed the higher authority of God (Acts 4:19; 5:29).  Today, some governments command their citizens to disobey God's prohibitions such as "You shall not murder" (Matthew 19:18).  In China women have been told to abort any child after the first.  In our country it may not be long before preachers will be required to perform same sex "marriages."  In such cases it is right and necessary to disobey.

If people don't like a law they may ignore it.  This is disobedience though in a passive manner.  There is a responsibility to perform the duty imposed by our laws.  It may be something as simple as putting on a safety belt when driving or something as onerous as paying taxes.  Those who refuse to comply usually try to justify their actions by claiming the law is too intrusive or violate one's personal rights.  Still, the law is the law and it's "Click It or Ticket."  Some income earners refuse to pay taxes.  They may attempt a justification on Constitutional grounds but if one is caught there generally are serious penalties.  A clear indicator of this country's declining morality is when our own government refuses to obey its own laws.  There have been many cases over the past few years where some agency has been instructed to comply with a federal statute but the agency simply stonewalls.

When people don't like a law they may claim an exemption from that law.  Now it may be true that they are exempt and thus failing to obey is perfectly legal.  However, it is often an attempt to find a loophole.  What is a loophole?  According to the dictionary in ancient times it was a narrow slit for shooting arrows through castle walls.  Thus, the word came to be associated with a way to slip through.


Sadly, there are members of the Lord's church who also engage in some of the same behavior when faced with God's law.  Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) says, "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."  It is possible for a Christian to obey the elders without being truly submissive.  That is, they may do what they have been told but they are grumbling about the decision all the while.  That is not being submissive to the elders.  Some Christians simply seek to ignore God's will.  It may be giving liberally or it may the command to practice church discipline. Others claim exemptions from a precept such as the teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:9).

Even though some dislike certain elements of God's will they cannot claim an exemption from His judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Fortunately, most Christians obey for the right reason and with the right spirit.  A law may seem distasteful but that does not give us the right to disobey it!


You have my permission to use this article in any non-commercial way (e.g., bulletins, web sites, e-mail). All I ask is that you reproduce the article in its entirety including the original title and author's name.  Douglas Hoff, September 4, 2008; Flat Rock church of Christ, Flat Rock, MI