Power of obedience: A response to Covid-19

It will ensure our survival, continuity and prosperity.

In Summary
  • One key lesson that has emerged during this period is the duty to obey.
  • Obedience will ensure our survival, continuity and prosperity.

Covid-19 is unprecedented. It is an invisible enemy that is no respecter of persons, positions, age, gender, class, race or geographical boundaries. An enemy that is threatening the very existence of humanity, battering global economic and financial stability, wreaking havoc on our health, education and social systems, dismantling the spirit of togetherness and inclusivity, curtailing movement, causing fear, anxiety and death in its wake. 

One key lesson that has emerged during this period is the duty to obey. Obedience to government directives, protocols and guidelines remain the ultimate weapon that citizens have in their hands against this pandemic. This brings to mind the words of Prophet Samuel, that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Obedience will ensure our survival, continuity and prosperity. Governments have the authority to command and citizens have a duty to obey for the common good. Though we live at a time when obedience carries overtones of control and challenges our inherent drive towards autonomy and individualism, and even though obedience appears to take us out of the driver’s seat, it brings with it rewards, blessings and power. 

Obedience simply means compliance with an order, request, law or submission to another’s authority; the ability and willingness to comply with the instructions given. It is also the process of being respectful, submissive, observant, dutiful and yielding to order.

An obedient person accepts as his/her own decisions those that come from whoever holds and expresses authority, provided they do not go against justice, and carries out promptly what has been decided, striving faithfully to interpret the will of him who commands.

Obedience is not blind compliance but is based on good judgment and common sense. It entails hearing, doing and aligning one’s actions and decisions to the instructions and commands of those in authority. Obedience is not easy – it requires sacrifice, discipline, and stretching oneself outside one’s comfort zone. Individuals have the choice of whether or not to obey, but choices have consequences.

Disobedience wreaks havoc and punishment while obedience brings blessings? Read Deuteronomy 28. Biblical characters such as Noah, Abraham, Joshua responded in obedience to God’s call. Their response of obedience yielded blessings and rewards beyond measure. Abraham became the father of nations and Joshua led the Israelites in defeating Jericho.

When God was about to destroy the world with a flood, the survival of the human race depended upon one thing: a man’s obedience to God’s command. God told Noah to build an ark, He gave him specific instruction on how the ark was to be made and Noah did exactly what God told him to do. By his obedience, Noah saved not only humanity but all living species. 

Our obedience to government’s guidelines, procedures and protocols will give us power over Covid-19. The outcomes of obedience are blessings of good health, innovation, revitalised economy, victory over the disease, safety, security, long life and newer ways of doing things.

Parents have the opportunity to be role models of obedience to authority. Children are observing how parents are responding to government directives. They should see the direct relationship between civic obedience and the attainment of a common good.