Wink Your Way Through
A person literally starving or hungry should be excused when he steals
to keep life going. He may be committing a justifiable sin. That is he is justified by the
circumstances. Or the person
may be simply under a natural law of eminent domain given by the right
Eminent domain is the right of a government to confiscate property for the needs of the government. A person has a right of eminent domain to take property to sustain life. If a starving person is asked to starve while watching a rich man’s banquet, where the usual whining and dining is going on, it is not only wrong but cruel to have him watch. God has the right of eminent domain, and in the name of God, His children may claim it if the claim is justly used. If the right to vote is a natural law, the right to survive is one too.
Or the theft may be a sin justified by the circumstances, therefore a justifiable sin. In the Old Testament work on the Sabbath was not justified but there was provision to allow it: if the ox were in a ditch. There are circumstances to rules and laws, and our God considers the circumstances to respond with wisdom and in grace. Can we do less?
Natural law comes from common grace, and it cannot reach the heights of “special” grace. Special grace, for example, is the Atonement of Christ on the cross and especially ministers to those saved by grace. It is special grace which saves. But the universal principles of nature while not coded should be recognized when verbalized. That is if there is enough grace in the group for anyone to recognize the spiritually obvious. Sometimes this is not so. And you must wait for a time of grace. Let patience work her perfect way.
I submit that a Natural Law is that a poor man not starve as a rich man revels. The poor man may not be able to verbalize it, but he knows it, yes, he knows it in sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26 RSV). He knows more than he is able to say. But don’t ask a hungry person for deep thoughts. They have other business with their stomach first. For a hungry child cannot be reasoned with, but when fed, you may reason together.
The law we have written is the “coded” law and it is often somewhat of a farce. It deals with what is written down to be “legal” and how what is written down is written. You and I both know that what is legal is not always right. And we have to accept it though wrong. This is hard to do but we do it because we are told in scripture to obey the higher powers that be (Romans 13:1) to bestow order. But obedience to law helps the state keep order, so obeying the law is often a sacrifice we make for the need of others for order. I Corinthians 14:40 admonishes us: all things should be done decently and in order.
Laws are a Jacob’s Ladder where a system of priorities is established. But we should not have to resort to law for failures in charity. If you saw Christ in others, you would not leave them without food so they are reduced to stealing. But most people, not Christians or unaware of natural laws, see only themselves. They are blind to others. They live and die wrapped up in themselves. Only this we as Christians cannot do. Christ’s love pushes us forward to help. Selfishness and laziness try to hold us back. But shall we just sit on our beliefs, singing hymns in churches and call it Christ? Or shall we act out Christianity and follow the Lord.
Now the scripture does not say we must respect the government, the center of law, but be ordered by it. We are today in a situation similar to that of ancient Rome where Nero and Caligula, the government and emperors of Rome, were not respected but obeyed. However obedience was given with a wink. So it was also with Herod and the “Slaughter of the Innocents.” Obedience is easier to give than respect. But does not obedience to some things make us disrespect ourselves? I GIVE A WINKING OBEDIENCE.
Some early governments of Rome were obeyed, yes, but one winked at others WHILE DOING IT. We too must wink at the governments and their appointed courts. I council you to obey with a wink. Psalm 35:19 says “neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.” Now in many things we have cause to hate, yet I would council you to wink but not hate, because hate will sour you inside, but a wink may keep self-respect alive. So do it with a wink. Otherwise how could you survive in this decadent society? I would also suggest you vote your wink. A sincere smile showing grace and a wink showing you are not taken in are good armor for living in a time of decadence.
We live in a time when, if I consider rightly, some actions of the government and too liberal courts seem crazier than Caligula. (But I will not take up now abortion, right to life, the fiscally always irresponsible, the bad values and many other things.) Sometimes I wonder if the powers that be, like those of ancient Rome and others, are not at times morally insane.
Therefore I council you that in this situation you may have to wink your way through to better times. But remember it is God who gives grace and ultimately we will see the triumph of our spiritual efforts. Faith is the victory and grace is the way to achieve it in a graceful manner. MAY GOD GIVE THE GRACE TO KEEP YOU SMILING AND WlNKING.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.