I had a long conversation last night following prayer meeting with a young man that I respect and admire a great deal. My estimation of him skyrocketed during our conversation. I can’t give you lots of details but I will say that he is an expectant father and a committed Christian. He was calling because he was angry and fearful over the events of the last week, especially the Supreme Court Decisions. He and the people he works with are very concerned about how they should respond to these events. I love this young man and pray for him almost daily. As I told him, I want only the best for him. Sadly, I think this feeling caused me to counsel him poorly at first. He is in such a position that expressing his Christian beliefs could cause him to lose his career. As I said, he and his wife will be having a baby in the next few months, and my heart went out to him. So I started telling this young man that he needed to be careful about what he said and to whom he said it. I cautioned him that he could jeopardize his livelihood. I told him that there were enough people like me who could stand up for the truth of God’s Word without fear of losing our jobs. And that’s when he said it. “Why shouldn’t I stand up for what I believe regardless of the consequences.” Man, I felt great shame. You see, I am not afraid to speak the truth. I don’t care if I am physically or verbally attacked for what I preach. The threat of being prosecuted (at some point in the future) for what I believe and speak doesn’t scare me. But in my heart, I was afraid for him, and I was telling him to be careful.
It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit convicted my heart. I have preached for years that we as Christians need to be bold. We need to be willing to take risks. Jesus told us that we should be prepared for persecution and that we should not back down. So I told this young man, “You are absolutely right. All of us must be bold. We must be willing to risk everything for the sake of lost souls.” But we must do it in love under God’s guidance.
As soon as we hung up, I saw the story of the county clerk in Mississippi who quit her job of 24 years saying, “I am a follower of Christ and I believe strongly that the Bible is my final authority. The Bible teaches that a marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Therefore, because of the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, I can no longer fulfill my duties as Circuit Clerk and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.” That is the kind of faith and conviction that we need as Christians. Perhaps we may even need to go further and stand on our beliefs, forcing employers to terminate our employment when we refuse to do that which is contrary to God’s law. Maybe we need to utilize our court system to fight for our religious freedoms.
But when we ask our people to do these things, pastors, we need to be prepared to lead our churches to take care of their needs. In the days when Christianity was new, many converts lost everything when they placed their faith in Jesus – homes, businesses, families, etc. I see the possibility of this happening again right here in the United States of America. When it does, like the early church in Acts 2, we need to be willing to share all that we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that anyone who has a need will be taken care of. We need to truly come together like the family we are supposed to be taking care of each other when the pressures from this world system come against us. Be bold! Be courageous! Stand firm!