Deserved Wrath

I read a quote recently that set my mind’s wheels turning.  To paraphrase it: how better to live one’s life than to earn the wrath of tyrants.

This paraphrase can be looked at in multiple ways, but I just want to briefly highlight two of those ways.

The men that swore on their lives, fortunes, and honor to separate America from Britain centuries ago knew that they would incur the wrath of people that they considered tyrants.  The Declaration of Independence, which I have delved into previously on this blog, makes it clear why they thought this to be true and how they believe that they were justified in doing so.

If we truly believe ourselves to be patriots, then we must be willing to incur the same wrath in how we live.  If we find ourselves living under tyrants, then it is our duty to resist as Americans, as free men, and as Christians.

Wait… are we not called to submit as Christians?  Render to Caesar, etc.  Yes, if our rulers are submitting to God’s will themselves then they will not be tyrants, but will rule lightly with compassion and justice.

Now how can this be?  How can we be both obedient to those God ordains as rulers over us and yet have an obligation to resist tyrants?

Are we called to be subject to laws that violate God’s laws?

Should we obey a law that forces us to choose between God and man?  Is that not the very act of sedition toward God?

Submit yourselves, then, to God.

James 4:7

If you struggle with this idea, just ask yourself this question.

How would you justify watching as Jewish neighbors were hauled off to concentration camps if you lived in Nazi Germany?  How would you justify this to your Creator?

As I often do, let’s look back and recall the words of one man who had this entire concept figured out.  He realized that tyranny toward one man was tyranny toward all men.  That tyranny, once realized, was worth of resistance, despite the earned wrath that such resistance would cause.  Good must counter evil.

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings….

…We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

…Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission…

…Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power….

…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…

…There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!

…Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

In battling evil, excess is good; for he who is moderate in announcing the truth is presenting half-truth. He conceals the other half out of fear of the people’s wrath.

Khalil Gibran

Stand firm.  Resist.  Defy tyranny.  Incur their temporal wrath.  Glorify God.

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