Taking a stand

When is it right to take a stand?

When something you believe in is under seige.

We all face tests – tests in our relationships, in our schools, in our jobs, in our faith.  Sometimes these tests are head-on clashes.  Other times, they seem small and not worth bothering about – but, in time, they grow to fill the room.

By nature, I avoid confrontation.  But I have learned that avoiding an issue can sometimes be costly.

In relations with others, it can encourage the critic to continue his or her attacks.  I recall one instance in my career where that was particularly true.

Where faith is concerned, we are called to be true to our convictions.

This week, I have been reading through the book of Daniel which tells the story of a young Jewish captive living in the service of King Nebuchadnezzar, conqueror of Judah.

Daniel’s first test came when he and three young friends were told to eat special meat and wine that the king was offering him so that he might become one of the king’s servants.

On the surface, this was a small thing.  In fact, it might seem like an honour.  Instead of wasting away on heavy labour and poor rations, he was going to have the best of food and work directly for the king.

But for Daniel, this was a test of his faith.  The food was unclean in the eyes of Jews.  If he gave in here, what would he have to surrender next?

Even as a young man, Daniel was a master of skilled negotiation.  He discussed the issue with the man in charge of the young Jews and suggested a compromise solution because the Babylonian keeper feared his master’s wrath if the young men were not properly cared for.

Daniel’s proposal of a 10-day trial just eating vegetables and water was accepted by the keeper.  And the young men prospered on this diet.

Daniel demonstrated how a Christian should approach conflict in faith issues.  We should be firm and yet self-controlled and kind and gentle in our approach.

Of course, sometimes this does not lead to as happy a result as it did with Daniel.  Down through the centuries, many Christians have died for their faith.  In the western world, loss of jobs or broken relationships are more likely than death.

But, as a believer, I know I must be ready to stand up for my faith – sooner or later.

 

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