Thankful for the law

December 1, 2008

by Pastor Steve Thorson, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cokato

Romans 13 is one of the Bible passages that tell us that government is important.

During this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for living in a place that upholds law and order. As citizens, we not only appreciate those who serve, we also support them.

It’s true, obeying the law, whether human or other, will not save us. We are only saved by the gospel good news of what Jesus has done for us by dying and rising for sinners like me.

But still, in this broken world, I’m thankful for the law, which keeps us from being self-destructive.

I was thinking about this in connection with my former hometown. People go to Taylors Falls to enjoy the state parks on both sides of the river. Hiking and rock climbing are popular.

The government, however, has put up signs that try to keep people from doing one of the most exciting activities – jumping from the 50-foot-high cliffs into the water below. Some complain about that! Many disobey.

For a long time, the only thing that was against the law was the actual jumping. But, at some point in the past 15 years or so, the authorities got smart and decided to come out with a new law: swimming is prohibited in the St. Croix River downstream from the Highway 8 bridge to the public boat launch at Wisconsin Interstate State Park. It’s a lot easier to catch people swimming than jumping.

It’s sort of like the Dassel-Cokato School Board’s policy against students even attending parties where “alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs, as defined by state law, are illegally present and/or illegally used.”

Because merely getting caught attending such a party means an activity suspension, kids look for other kinds of parties. If they are at a party and illegal activity occurs, they leave and go somewhere else. Caring adults help make good, legal, and exciting fun for their kids.

It’s our duty, as adults and youth in the community, to support the law. Those who disagree with it have the right to work to have it changed, but, for the meantime, we must work together to support it.

To protect our youth from overly risky behavior, we can remind them of consequences which the law brings down on those who disobey, while, at the same time, informing authorities when we learn of situations or parties where illegal behavior is occurring.

If we are thankful for the law, we can’t encourage stupid risks by silence or inaction. Call the police when you see something suspicious. God ordains authorities such as the police and school board to keep things under control, as we read in Romans 13.