Sister to Sister: A Good and Defiant Heart?

Yesterday at the conclusion of a ladies seminar at which I spoke, I was in conversation with a schoolteacher. She described having been involved in a meeting prior to the school year in which she was told she was not allowed to tell the students she was a Christian. I could go on and on about how twisted this sort of gag rule is; about the absurdity of such a misapplication of the Constitution’s provision for freedom of religion; about the fact that there are other teachers in her school who wear the Islamic scarves called hijab; about the amazing boldness of the devil in our education system today.

But let me suffice it to say that, if anyone, in any place of employment says that to me, at that point I have but two choices: resign from that position or remain on in defiance of the order, come what may.

II Corinthians 6:14 says this:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Many have applied this teaching to the marriage of a believer to a non-believer. While I think there are marital situations to which this verse may apply, I think the verse is directly relevant to the schoolteacher’s situation. While I can be in the yoke with unbelievers (work for them and with them, live in neighborhoods with them, be in organizations with them and play sports with them), I cannot be under the power of any man or group of men who, in the exercise of that power, would force my denial of or disobedience to my King Jesus. The other force in the yoke cannot overpower my will to serve the Lord.

This teacher told me that she would be telling her students that she was a Christian. She said “ Though I may not get the chance to teach them the gospel while they are in my classroom, I want them to grow up and remember that Mrs. Jones was different in a good way…and I want them to remember that it was likely because she was a Christian.”

She understands the choices before her. First, she can keep her Christianity hidden. Or, secondly, she can quit her job and tell everyone she’s a Christian. Or she can defy the order and risk getting fired. Undercover Christianity is not an option for faithful people. So she has chosen to disobey the order and take her chances. She’s doing what Peter and John did in Acts 3-5. They were ordered to stop teaching about Jesus by those who were clearly in positions of authority over them. They did not stop teaching (option one). They did not move to some other location to do their teaching (option two). They boldly disobeyed the orders, risking, and later receiving, the punishment.

As I continue to be shocked at the intolerance toward Christianity in our governmentally controlled arenas (Which founding father would have thought?!), I’m in prayer for all of the Mrs. Joneses who are standing firm in their professions of Christianity. Some are doing it in schools, both as teachers and students. Others are doing it in governmental and judicial positions. Some are standing for God in situations of social persecution.

I find comfort in the conclusion of this discussion about unequal forces in the yoke:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (vs. 17,18).

May we come out and be separate, so we can be his daughters.

Sister to Sister: Be Brave and Fear Him

You could name lots of enemies of a Christian’s boldness in our world today. One enemy is the overemphasis of tolerance. We’d rather be villains in almost any other category than to be labeled as intolerant or judgmental. (The most quoted and misapplied passage in this culture is Matthew 7:1.) So we stop speaking out about sin. We fear being ostracized. We fear confrontation. 

Another enemy of boldness to speak God’s truth is our busy-ness. Our schedules shout at us. Our commitments bulge in their time limitations. We simply over-commit and there is little time left to write letters to editors, show up at venues like gospel seminars or meetings that serve to inform and embolden, or take time to speak to individuals about the gospel.  We fill up our calendars and then allow them to control us. Their demands often make even the free moments of our lives full of anxiety or dread for the upcoming stress of deadlines and back-to-back responsibilities. They make us physically tired and weaken our spiritual stamina. We lose some of the will to do spiritual battle against wickedness in high places (Eph.6:12). It’s “wrestling”, as Paul put it, and we are too exhausted for that.

One more enemy is worldliness. This is a big one. We slowly become anesthetized, through entertainment choices, the news media, the public education system and governmental influences. We stop thinking very much about the societal departure from truth that is quickly becoming so complete. We start thinking like the world, instead of like the Lord. We are influenced, sometimes unknowingly, by pop culture’s psycho-babble and we become complacent—even ignorant—about the polar differences between the way God wants us to think and act and the accepted norms of society around us. 

Part of fearing him who is able to destroy body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28) is being wise to slow anesthetization by the culture. We simply cannot go to sleep in the devil’s gentle lull of  tolerance, busy-ness and the normalization of sin. See, ironically, those who fear are the brave. It’s those people who’ve developed a healthy fear of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell who are emboldened to stand against His lies in a culture of relativism.

Sister to Sister: Peace and Silence… NOT the Same Thing

brigitteIf you haven’t seen the following video, you should watch. Brigitte Gabriel’s  point is well articulated and her logic is irrefutable. Radicals are the movers in society. The peaceful majority within any movement which contains a violent element quickly becomes very irrelevant.

As I think about her statements about Russia, Nazi Germany, Japan and China, I strongly agree with her logic  If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and opposed to terrorism, why are they (the peaceful majority) not rising up against their own people, in the name of peace, to save innocent lives?  At the very least, they should be publicly descrying the frequent ongoing attacks by Muslim terrorists around the world. But such a public outcry by peaceful Muslims is rarely occurring. In its silence, the majority has become irrelevant. The radicals…the killers…are the ones who are making a tragic difference in the world today.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the “peaceful majority” of God’s people can, with its silence, become irrelevant? I am not suggesting that we should be a violent people as we oppose sin in the world around us. I am suggesting that we must be doing spiritual battle all the time. Paul said as much in Ephesians 6:10-12.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We must never be satisfied to be silent as the devil seeks to destroy our families and congregations. We become irrelevant to the lost people around us if we fail to stand up and be counted for truth and righteousness. It is not enough to just “think” that the world around us is becoming more vile; to be sad in our hearts that our culture is given over to immorality. We must continue to speak the world-changing message of the gospel even when it is vehemently opposed by a segment of our society. We have to continue to say that homosexuality is vile affection (Romans 1), that those who are have left their spouses for reasons other than fornication and have remarried are living in adultery (Matthew 19), that abortion is murder, that Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to the Father (John 14), that faithfulness to God involves faithfulness to His church, and that there are indeed New Testament laws (absolute requirements) regulating worship and daily living for those in that church.

Bottom line: Being peaceful and being silent are two very different things. I can believe all the right things, but become irrelevant in the battle for holiness in my community and in my congregation if I am not willing to speak truth at every opportunity to my sisters and friends. If I know truth, but I am afraid to post, speak, write, tweet, and/or text truth, then I, by default, contribute to the victories of evil. Granted, there are varying degrees of opportunity for God’s women. But all of us have some venues in which we can and should be, peacefully but vocally, standing for truth, whether in a blog or simply in a conversation with a friend who is straddling a politically correct fence.

The relative silence of 2.3 million Muslim people living in the United States when 19 radical Muslim hijackers destroyed the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon and took the lives of 2,996 people is still deafening.

Let us be peaceful, but let us NOT be silent.