“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
- Matthew 10:32-39
“We Jesus followers were never given license to be theological snobs. Yet my fear is that Christians across America have been duped into the line of thinking that we cannot take stands for truth because the Gospel would be hindered by what would be seen as our opposition mentality.”
“If you’re a Jesus follower, then you’re going to face opposition for the stands that you take. I’d rather be known as a voice shouting in the darkness while simultaneously holding a light than to sit silent in the darkness while feeling the numbing comfort of knowing I have a flashlight in my pocket.”
- Jason Cruise, The Man Minute (Something You Should Expect)
The scripture above had scared me for a long time. Even before the days of being politically correct, I would refrain in talking about Jesus to total strangers – at times. I picked my moments. I’m an introvert. Not talking at all is natural. Then, I got a job with an engineering firm that had clientele around the world. I was required by my job to talk with the worker level people wherever I went, and not offend anyone. There could be backlash on the company, and my days with the company would be terminated if an offense was even suspected. I couldn’t hide that I was a Christian, and when asked, I let people know, but if I have denied Jesus, I pray that God will accept my humble apology, as Jesus forgave Peter. Yes, these words in Matthew 10 were ringing in Peter’s ears when he heard the rooster crowing that morning.
Today, if you stand up for your beliefs, you will be attacked by all fronts. Most atheists think you to be crazy, yet Proverbs states that only a fool does not believe in God. See where conflict might get started there? Evolution, the Big Bang, the scientific studies on the age of the Universe or Mankind (sorry for the PC incorrect word), and all life on earth are just a few of the drawbacks to living peacefully with unbelievers. It is bad enough on the street corner or coffee house. I weep when these arguments rip churches apart.
In a church where we used to belong (heavy on the “used to”), the ‘preacher’ had a summer “Bible” study before the service. (Too many quotation marks? Read on.) Sunday school had been suspended for the summer, as is the practice in a lot of northern churches. This was set up as a friendly Q&A. Over the first two or three weeks, he announced that miracles could not happen, because God could not violate physical law. He also made some other arguments that caused me to get hot under the collar, but each time I bit my tongue. In those few weeks, he’d never read any scripture that he believed to be true. But when he announced that Evolution had ‘proven’ that Creation never happened, I got up to leave, silently. I had had enough. He asked how I could be a Creationist. After all, I was a degreed man on science, master’s degree in fact. I stood mute, hoping to control my growing rage, praying for deliverance, or at least intelligent words to say. His childish, churlish taunts continued, “What about the dinosaur bones?” In my rage, I said through clinched teeth, “God put those bones in the ground just to mess with your mind!” (I credit the Holy Spirit for that comment. I would have said something inappropriate and insulting.) I walked out and never went back to his “Bible” study. All in attendance that day laughed, and many got up and left with me.
That might not be the forum, or the topic, on which you may need to take a stand. There are so many topics. The Devil puts ideas into nonbeliever’s minds. The devotion book Today’s Moment of Truth, by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg covers a lot of these thoughts and evidence to support the Biblical view. There will never, until Jesus returns, be an end to all of the arguments that a professing Christian could face.
For those scholarly people who stand on stage during debates on Biblical truth, my hat is off to them. They are well prepared. They have studied the argument from both sides. You have to look at the opposing viewpoint to see the flaws in their thinking and to create a list of evidence to prove your point.
But for us who are accosted for our beliefs from people who claim to be our friend or who might be related to us, we have the right to stand firm and silent. Entering into foolish arguments is one of the things that Paul warned us about (2 Timothy 2:23). Your silence may be the reason for derisive laughter. Be prepared for that.
Yet, when you are prepared to argue and you have prayed for your adversary (father, brother, cousin, daughter?), you can return, in private so that neither side can use inflammatory statements to stoke the crowd. If they can act in a civilized adult manner and hear you out, you can state your case (2 Corinthians 10:5). God will give you the words and the strength if you are well prepared and you trust in God.
The key is to not disown God in times of ridicule. If you truly believe, you are well prepared, and you take a stand, I have firsthand experience that the Holy Spirit can take over (other evidence instead of my retort above). Afterwards, you will wonder where the words came from. You may have only a vague memory of what just happened.
To God be the Glory, all of the time.