Simply knowing wisdom concepts is not a guarantee of success; rather, each person must choose guiding principles for decision making. Wisdom instructions are not absolute commands because there are always some exceptions to the rules, but they provide wise guidelines.
When leaders are honest and just, people who do right have nothing to fear. However, if citizens are commanded to do something contrary to God’s word, a higher priority of submission to God takes precedence over secular laws. When a believer is necessarily disobedient to civil laws, he is not afraid of being caught, because he is “doing good” even if it brings persecution.
Great care must be exercised on this issue. Some Christians do not want to pay taxes, comply with licenses for different ministries, or pay Social Security, etc., believing they are exempt, when in fact, they may not be. Ethical issues can get complex and questionable, so be sure to get the best advice possible. At some point, everyone must draw a line that he will not cross, but often, wise action can avoid the potential conflict.
Even unregenerate civil authorities have a sense of right and wrong. They are required to punish wrongdoers and give the honor of “commendation” to those who do good in difficult situations.
When evil leaders refuse to recognize the difference between good and evil, it is because they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom 1:18–-19).
A missionary friend of mine, Bruce Olson, three times has received the nation’s highest award in Colombia for civil service in the battle against the communist guerrillas. He was once capture by the guerrillas, chained to a tree for 150 days, and nearly died. His Christian witness during this time changed many lives among them to the point that the guerrilla band disbanded.
The gospel faithfully proclaimed is the key to individual and societal transformation. Can God count on us to share the gospel in difficult times?
“Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to know what is good and the courage to do the right thing regardless of the problems that may come my way because of my actions.”