In the Bible, authority and accountability are always yoked together. Authority comes from taking one’s place in a chain of command with God at the head. Even those things we assume to be ours – “my body… my life… my children…” are not our own but lent us on trust by God.
Far from being an irksome servitude, there is great freedom in this as well as wholesome discipline. For if it is to God that we are accountable, then we are free indeed – no man is our master, even if the world calls us slaves. And, however high our status may be in the eyes of the world, we bear continually in mind that for our every action, every word we have spoken, we must give account on the Day of Judgment. Those who know this are kept from pride and arrogance even when their status in human society sets them above the restraint of their fellow human beings.
We also find peace more readily when faced with the wrongdoing of others – for we know that they too are accountable to God; one day there will be justice.
How do you imagine the Day of Judgment? How do you think the judgment of God operates in day-to-day life now?
What are some examples of injustices that we have to live with now, trusting that one day God will put them right?
Can you think of examples from history or your own experience of individuals who held high-ranking authority yet always humbly bore in mind their accountability to God?
O God of power and might, our Lord, our king, our judge, look with mercy upon our human frailty, we pray. We acknowledge our waywardness and wilfulness, the foolish empty things we have said – and the unkind, spiteful things too. We ask your forgiveness. Make us whole and strengthen us in your service, we beseech you, so that when the day comes that we stand before you as our judge, we shall know ourselves cleansed, justified, and free from sin, because we kept a short account with Jesus, in whose holy name we pray; Amen.