Several years ago, while working at my local bakery, I was engaged in conversation with another employee concerning her lifestyle. She knew I was a Christian and wanted to know if it was ok for her to live with her boyfriend (she claimed they slept in separate beds). First of all, I couldn’t figure out why she needed my opinion. Obviously she knew whatever was going on was not right. Second, even if I pointed out that what she was doing was wrong, she really had no intentions on changing. If truth be told, she was only looking for an answer that would appease her conscience. I noticed another co-worker was listening nearby whom just so happened to live with her boyfriend as well. I knew neither would like what I had to say, but I had to make a decision. Would I give a passive answer that would please everyone and allow me to fit in? It certainly would have been a lot easier, and I wouldn’t come across judgmental. They were waiting for my response. I chose to tell her the truth. I pointed her (them) to the Bible, “According to the Bible, it is not right,” I said bluntly. The other co-worker angrily replied, “I don’t see anything wrong with it!” Speaking the truth offends people. When being asked such a pointed question, people don’t really want to know your views but rather get your acceptance of their lifestyle. How do you handle situations like these? Standing up for your convictions will not make you the most popular person on the block. However, our focus should always be to please God not others.
The Bible-Our Final Authority
When challenged with these types of situations, we should always be ready to give an answer to them that ask (Colossians 4:5-6). Standing up for our convictions, should always be rooted in nothing more than the word of God. The Bible is our ultimate and final authority on any subject we face. People tend to think that when we take a stand for righteousness, we are being judgmental of their lifestyle. It offends their conscience. When in reality, our belief is solely based on God’s word-not our made up belief. When challenged with situations that contradict our values, we should always point back to the Bible-the very source of our convictions. This way it doesn’t appear as our own thoughts, but rather God’s truth. Others cannot accuse us of being critical but simply pointing out God’s standard. If they have a problem with the truth, they can take it up with God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 timothy 3:16-17).
You Are Not Alone
Going against the flow can be intimidating. “Only dead fish swim with the stream” ~ Malcolm Muggeridge. No one wants to be the odd ball in the group. Too often we do everything we possibly can to fit in with our surroundings. The fear of rejection can keep us back from being bold. The downfall of this is that many times we will compromise our standards. Ultimately, our convictions become weakened. Throughout the Bible we come across scripture where God is telling His people to not be afraid-when faced with adversity. Abraham, Isaiah and Jeremiah were all told by God to not be afraid of what was ahead of them (Genesis 28:15; Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 1:8). The foundation of their confidence was found in one thing-God was with them. They had such confidence in God that it gave them boldness to not be afraid in the face of hardship. We have been given that same promise, “…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5). Anytime we come against opposition, fear attempts to rise up. When we face something we fear, it takes courage to do it anyway.
Standing up for what we believe will, at times, cause persecutions. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20). Jesus was despised because of what he stood for. He faced opposition even from those who claimed to know God. Yet, this did not cause him to cower. No, it seemed the more opposition he received, the bolder he stood. We are to be like Jesus. This is our goal in life. The more we become like him, the more we will be treated like him. The consequences we face, though painful, are only temporal. The fruit they produce is eternal and far outweigh any pain we suffer now. Persecution should not come as a surprise. We read, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In fact, the amount of reproach we receive is a good indicator of the depth of our dedication we have towards our Lord.
God takes notice when we stand strong. Standing fervently in our faith makes us stronger and builds character in our lives. When I was in high school, a friend of mine informed me of a boy who was interested in me. He wasn’t a Christian and didn’t have a very good reputation. I told her that I wasn’t interested in him. She later told the other girls at our art table and one of them mockingly asked me if I was gay. She, along with my friend, couldn’t understand why I would turn this guy down. Her words hurt. Although, I continued to stand my ground. After dealing with this girls teasing, it made me stronger. It made it a bit easier to stand for my convictions the next time. I hadn’t been a Christian very long before this incident took place and yet God gave me the courage to do what was right. This was only the beginning of my character building. It seems the more we stand for our convictions, the stronger we become and the more character develops. It’s only those who have been through anything that have something to give to others.
In Joshua 1:9, God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and exactly how to take it-courageously and without a hint of fear. As we go through our life, we will face several opportunities to cower in fear or stand strong. Fear will trample our faith if we yield to it. Instead, take God’s word and stand by your convictions through the words you speak and more importantly your actions.