I am torn about the size of the government lately. In my mind I agree with the tea party about the desire for a small government; the Republican party has long given up small government as a plank of its platform. The writers of the Constitution would be rocking and rolling in their graves if they saw what has happened to the government they instituted. On the other hand, our society faces a huge crisis - people can't govern themselves. People possess no self-control. If they have a desire, they need to please it at all costs, even at the expense to other people. (It must be in the genes.) People can't show respect to others. People are downright self-centered and self-focused. They live as if no one else exists. I believe the big word for this is egocentrism, when people see themselves as the center of the world. Life revolves around them. Egocentrism occurs early on in childhood, but as one matures it is supposed to disappear. (Of course, with broken families and fatherless homes, who can teach children any different?) Thus, those who cannot govern themselves need to be governed.
Therefore, the government steps in to be the mediator or the parent. They have to make rules and regulations to teach people how to coexist. What used to be common sense or what used to be love and respect for one's neighbor now has become government law. Love and respect for one's neighbor used to limit the loudness of the volume of music at night; now we need the government to be involved. Love and respect for one's spouse or partner would call a friend, a counselor, or a pastor when there was a conflict; now the police are called to handle "domestic disputes." Love and respect for one another guided how one drove, but now we need an ever thickening law book and hidden cameras to capture people driving recklessly. Even our church has increasingly encountered government regulations on what it can or cannot do. The list could go on.
Those who cannot govern themselves need to be governed. Here is the irony. There are so many rules one cannot know them all or keep them all. There are so many rules, one says to oneself, "Who cares?" Thus, one rebels against the one who is trying to govern you because you can't govern oneself.
But let me express another thought about this statement, Those who cannot govern themselves need to be governed. According to Scripture, one cannot govern oneself without God. In other words, governing oneself is a spiritual issue. You are either a slave to self (egocentrism) or a slave to God. The paradox of being a slave to God is that it provides freedom: freedom from being a slave to one's own desires, and a freedom to love others and respect others, much less God. Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all the fruit of the Holy Spirit in one's life. Notice how those qualities are other-centered and show us how to relate with others. When God governs us through his Spirit, we don't need a big government.
However, the problem is that God has been pushed out of our society, not only the God of the Christian religion, but also the god of the civic religion. There are many people who cannot even tell you what are the ten commandments. So, how can we live together as a nation or as a society? We turn to our new god- the government to handle all our problems. In response to this thought, I believe it was my neighbor who said, (to paraphrase) "Unfortunately, those who can govern themselves have to to put up with those who can't and the government that comes with it."
I hate big government. But we have a problem: people cannot govern themselves. The answer is found in turning to God. The problem people have with the answer is this: "Who wants to give one's life over to God?" But until we as individuals and as a nation discover that answer, and the freedom in it, "Those who cannot govern themselves need to be governed."