“The truth is, if we don’t learn to submit to authority, we won’t ever learn to submit to God.” — Joyce Meyer
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.” — Bible (Hebrews 13:17)
A civilization is generally defined as an advanced state of human society containing highly developed forms of government, culture, industry and common social norms. You might say that the family is the most basic form of a “civilization.” The family should have rules of behavior with an authority structure to implement and enforce the rules, expectations for normal social interactions and a defined process for accomplishing necessary tasks.
Let’s take a look at two families: Bill and Belinda have three children whom they love and adore and for whom they have expectations. Bedtimes are clearly set and maintained, chores are well defined and playtimes are structured but enjoyed by all. Joe and Jane also have three children whom they love and adore. They wanted their children to grow up without any significant restrictions, believing they should be allowed to make their own choices and define their own characters from the very beginning.
The book "Lord of the Flies" was written by William Golding in 1954. Quoting from a review, the book focuses on “a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island.” The book has been popular but controversial over the years. Is it accurate in its presentation of the chaotic collapse of society when there is no structure?
The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). Or in other words, without structure, chaos reigns.
The Institute in Basic Life Principles outlines four biblical authority structures. They do not express superiority or inferiority, just the structure that God has designed into the universe in order for it to function properly.
First comes the family, consisting of husband, wife and children. The husband bears the responsibility of final decisions, with significant input from his wife. The children are to honor and obey their parents.
To govern our society, we have elected and appointed officials at all levels. They are to implement and enforce rules and regulations that provide for the welfare of the general population.
In order to earn a living, we have the employer and the employee. The employers are to manage with care and impartiality and the employees are to respect and submit to their employers in order to accomplish their assigned tasks and responsibilities.
Hopefully we also submit ourselves to the church. The organized church has pastors and teachers and other responsible persons who help guide the health of the church.
All of us accountable to God. We are under His authority, whether we realize it or not. If we disobey His authority there are consequences.
There have always been segments of society that rebel against some or all of the above authority structures. History shows us the consequences of the rebellions. We can ignore history, even removing that which reminds us, but we can’t change history. At its best we can celebrate the good to encourage repetition and learn from the bad to avoid repeating it.
The family is no different. We are trying all kinds of experiments with the family. There is the traditional type of family (husband and wife and children), the single parent family, the extended family, the childless family, the stepfamily, the grandparent family and deviations from the aforementioned. If we don’t ignore or erase the history lessons but instead learn from them, we can recognize that none of these are new and that only one has been successful.
The unrest in the world today will only end when we come under and are obedient to God’s authority, and that begins with the family.