How believers in Christ are to treat our bosses, pastors, church leaders, government officials, and police officers:
- Do not have a critical spirit toward them.
- Don’t gossip about them or spread negativity or slander about them.
- Pray for them that God might give them His wisdom and accomplish His purposes through them.
- Honor their decisions and cooperate with their decisions and directives (unless they are asking you to clearly sin – in which case, do NOT cooperate with them, but obey God instead).
- Speak to them respectfully with a respectful tone of voice and with good manners.
- Speak about them respectfully to others.
- Share concerns or disagreements privately whenever possible in a respectful way.
- Support their God-given authority in your thoughts, speech, and actions (as David honored King Saul as “The Lord’s Anointed” and refused to disrespect him)
- Trust God to lead you through the decisions of those in authority over you. Remember God’s sovereignty.
- Pay taxes and give cheerfully to the church to provide for those who are leading us in the government and in the church.
Verses about how we are to treat those in authority over us:
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:15
GOVERNMENT LEADERS AND POLICE OFFICERS
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. … Romans 13:1-7
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. … 1 Peter 2:13-25
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 1 Timothy 5:1-2
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10
MANAGERS AT WORK (this passage applies to slaves, yes, but also to employees)
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Ephesians 6:5-8
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21
IF WE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN OBEYING HUMAN AUTHORITIES OR GOD
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10 (after he heard that the king issued a decree that people could only pray to the king, not to any other idol or God, for 30 days)
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego … and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of … all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver usc from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:13-18
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:15-16 (when Esther decided to approach the king, her husband, to try to spare the lives of all of the Jews who were being threatened by his decree)