The book of Proverbs has great sayings about life and relationships. The one in chapter 29:16 is so apt for our world today. A look down history’s ‘corridor’ verifies its truth. ‘When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases …’
What do we mean by ‘transgression?’ It means crossing the boundary into unlawful territory. When the sign says ‘keep out’ and you don’t. Why would such conditions prevail under the rule of the wicked? Usually such reigns are cruel and oppressive. The standard set is what the unprincipled, the oppressed and the unrighteous will follow. If all that they can expect is defined by this life then the saying ‘let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ rings true.’ Perhaps we could rearrange the saying a little. ‘Let us cheat, lie and be violent for tomorrow we die.’
When religion overtly or covertly endorses such attitudes what was meant to erect boundaries actually destroys them. The treatment of women of all ages, as ‘things’, is in the news as they are used and abused by violent men! From Papua New Guinea to Pakistan, from the Western to Eastern cultures men crash the barriers of respect and restraint. The tragedy of child abuse and slavery has destroyed so many lives. So true is Proverbs 29:2b ‘When the wicked rule, the people groan.’ In Australia a Royal Commission is being set up to investigate corruption in the Union movement. There are numerous areas around the world which also needs such a Commission.
When the wicked smash the boundaries ‘Hell’s horror’ stalks the land. However who defined the boundaries? 1 John 3:4 ‘Sin is lawlessness.’ The word for sin means a falling short of a standard. Which standard? Mohammed’s! He was a mere man who fell short of the standard. Buddha? Offered fine words for selfish living but also missed the standard. The standard must be set by the Lord God of Hosts, the Creator. He has recorded these in the Bible. No other book can measure up to its standard. No other book can endure the scrutiny it has endured. No other book spells out the benefits for staying within the boundaries. No other book reveals dire consequences for breaking through the moral and spiritual boundaries God has set. No other book reveals the way to restore the broken boundaries and lives. No other book points the person to the One, Jesus Christ, who can give you a clean heart and a new beginning. He also gives the power and wisdom to live within the boundaries.
If you took the time to look at society you will notice some interesting facts. It is the Law of the Lord Jesus which is attacked by the nice and not so nice lawless ones. As one ‘T’ shirt worn by a young women put it ‘No god, No shame.’ Such an attitude leads to ‘No shame, no blame’ and ultimately they hope ‘no consequences and no condemnation.’ In every case the ‘T’ shirts will be wrong. However in the meantime that personal view will spill over and dominate politics, morality and the treatment of the unborn, the aged, infirm and the needy around the world. It is such lawless people, views and behaviour the Lord Jesus declared His people must resist. Indeed Jesus calls upon us to be boundary riders preserving righteousness, truth and caring for the poor and despised. It is by such men and women of faith Proverbs 29:2 speaks about ‘When the righteous are authority the people rejoice.’
Jesus made a promise. To walk with Him will prevent you from walking in the darkness of the lawless. To walk with Jesus is to walk in His light of righteousness, truth and grace. It will be a blessing to some. Others will be offended, guilt-ridden and curse you. However as you live within the boundaries He has set, you will know a hope, peace, health and meaning no lawless participant will ever experience. By the power of our risen Lord Jesus, He will keep us safe. By His grace we will measure up to His standard.