Titus 3:1 Remind (the people) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.
In this letter to Titus, Paul is directing believers to obey civil authorities. They should abide by the laws of the land and treat community leaders with respect. This is a difficult teaching when our nation is deeply divided and troubled as it is.
Protests and marches and civil disobedience (and sometimes not-so-civil disobedience) are back with a vengeance. My social media feeds are full of pictures of people protesting any number of injustices and inequities on a given day. And while I’m not one who tends to march or demonstrate or publicly protest, I support a political dimension of ministry in which we advocate for those on the margins. You might call this sort of activity “social gospel”. Social gospel pursues communal/societal change so that the Kingdom of God (as we understand it) and our reality are more closely aligned.
What concerns me about today’s political advocacy is the way in which some people go about it. Verse 2 describes a posture of peace, of gentleness, of courtesy which is too often lacking. Instead there is vitriol, violence, and contempt. While this is troubling, it’s also an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate peaceful protest – as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did 50+ years ago.
Lord Jesus give us grace to be examples of vigorous – and peaceful – protest in our day. Amen.