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When the Righteous Are in Authority

Andrea G. Schwartz
  • Andrea G. Schwartz,
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Proverbs 29:2 states, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."

Understanding this verse depends on a correct understanding of the word righteous. Clearly it is used contrasted with the word wicked. If we trivialize the meaning of either word, we lose the sense of the passage entirely.

Righteousness is not niceness, friendliness, politeness, optimism, or other congenial traits. Righteousness is synonymous with the word justice. So from the biblical definition, righteousness encompasses the perfect justice of God's law and grace.

Wickedness is not meanness, grumpiness, rudeness, pessimism or other Scrooge-like traits. Wickedness is that which is contrary to God's holy order, rule, and law.

Thus, teaching one's children to love and serve the Lord is righteous, and obliterating a life in the womb is wicked.

Since we can never escape being under authority, it is vitally important for parents to carefully select those whom they place in authority over their children. I used a rule of thumb when my children were very little. I would never place them in the care of someone unless I was comfortable with that person caring for them long-term, if I for some reason I did not return. Because in my absence, I was delegating authority, I wanted to ensure that my children would have true cause to rejoice over righteous authority, rather than to mourn because of wicked authority.

In the long run, ensuring that children are trained and educated by those who fit the biblical definition of righteousness will be profitable in producing adults who will reason and rule from a biblical mindset. Then, rather than lament the condition of our society and culture, we will rejoice when God's law-word is the accepted standard by which good and bad are defined.

Who is in authority over your children?