“The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit (Proverbs 28:18).”
On January 30, 1972 a large number of people in Northern Ireland decided to thwart the British government’s ban on public protests in their area and took to the streets. By the end of the day, 26 people were dead.
The event, known as “Bloody Sunday”, shook Ireland. Meant to be a nonviolent protest against discrimination along the lines of those held by Martin Luther King, Jr. in America, the protest was just the opposite.
British soldiers stormed through the predominantly Catholic crowd shooting protestors. Official accounts immediately following the massacre cleared the British troops of wrongdoing.
According to the soldiers involved, the killings were justified because the protestors were armed and using their weapons against them. Most eyewitnesses disputed these claims, but to not avail, at least at the time.
As depicted in the movie, “Bloody Sunday”, the truth was that the British troops went crazy. They basically murdered many unarmed civilians without cause.
The film reveals wounded people in the crowd being targeted by the soldiers. In one instance, one of them shoots a protestor lying on the ground at point blank range.
The movie’s portrayal of events are true. Later government investigations determined that the killings were out-and-out murder.
One cannot help but become angry watching “Bloody Sunday”. How could the government allow such a thing to happen?
Surely, the protest was illegal. In addition, there had been violence between radical IRA elements and British troops. However, nothing justified the murders which occurred on “Bloody Sunday”.
Most of my life I have witnessed such protests as this one on television and generally thought the government was in the right. After all, they are there to protect us and ensure the common good.
In fact, I have always been something of a “good soldier”. I am not one to rock the boat or hold contests with authorities.
However, in the last year something has changed in my attitude. This is because I have begun to be personally affected by what is nothing more than corruption in high places.
For the first time in my life, I have experienced moral rot in high places that has impacted me. I haven’t dealt with the experience very well. In fact, I have at times squealed like a pig.
I think part of this sense of injustice comes from my having originally been one who trusts established institutions and authorities. As a Christian, I have subscribed to biblical teachings that tell me to submit to these powers (I Peter 2:13-21; Romans 13:1-7).
I have understood that those in authority arent’t perfect. I understand that they are human.
However, what I have found is that they are in fact not always worthy of my trust, which to me is something needed for respect to happen. I have seen in my own deaslings what I interpret as either chosen ignorance, or perhaps worse, cowardice by people entrusted with power over me.
It has been very disheartening. People who I thought had my back did not.
We humans are created in God’s image. Yet, I should not be surprised that we don’t carry it very well. God has told us that in His Word:
God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken. (Psalm 82:1-5)
When the corrupt are in power over you, your world gets rocked. No wonder the Bible tells us that people in such a condition lay low, hoping to avoid trouble (Proverbs 28:12,28).
Oh, how wonderful it would be to be surrounded by people like David’s mighty men. These fellas had his back.
They looked out for him and kept his enemies at bay. When most people deserted David, they hung tough. These guys are described in II Samuel 23.
For example, Eleazar killed Philistines alone with David until he was too tired to hold his weapon anymore. Of course, the rest of the army only showed up to collect the benefts (v 9,10).
Then there was Shammah. He stood alone in a field when once again the Israelite army had fled. Shammah, however, held his ground and the Lord gave him a great victory (11,12).
When David wistfully longed for a drink of water from the well of his hometown, a troika of these boys snuck by the Philistine garrison there and brought some back to him. David was so awestruck by this action that he refused to drink the water.
He gave it in worship to the Lord in thankfulness for men who would risk their lives for him on a minor whim (v. 13-17). David knew these men were rare, and a gift from God.
My favorite “Mighty Man” was Benaiah. He is described as having done “many mighty deeds”.
My favorite of these is when he chased a lion down into a pit with only a club. Benaiah scrambled down this muddy hole and killed the beast (v 20). How many people do you know that actually run TOWARD a dangerous animal?
The Scriptures indicate that corrupt authorities who have power over you are similar to a menacing predator. The wise man of Proverbs describes them as “like a roaring lion or charging bear” (Proverbs 28:15).
It is difficult to know what to do when you are faced with people like this. My own prayer of late has been the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Behind all this tainted behavior in high places is a menace the Scriptures describe as a lion: the Devil himself (I Peter 5:8). He is mad as hell because he knows the jig is up, so he is out there ready to take it out on believers like me (Revelation 12:12).
I am willing to follow the biblical admonitions to stay alert and resist him when he attacks . However, I don’t think I have the wherewithal or the courage to actually chase him down into his hole as Benaiah did.
This would mean I’d have to go on the offensive against Satan and his power grab around me. That’s asking a lot from one person.
However, there is a Mighty Man willing to take on the task I can’t. It is the almighty and all powerful king of kings and lord of lord: namely, Jesus Christ.
As I walk the unclean halls of power in my life, which for me are unmanageable, I can trust Him to keep the devil down in his hole there. There is no doubt He will give me the insight to do business that will glorify Him, help me keep my footing on those slippery paths, and protect me along the way.