There is a reality of another pandemic upon us. Many of us who are Christians may find ourselves cowering in fear or uncertainty, wondering to what extent we can ‘faith out loud’. Times are getting serious, and daily we make the decision about how to navigate living in a secular world safely while holding onto our faith.
Whatever field we work in, we acknowledge that work itself is good. Work was introduced before the Fall (Genesis 1), so we know it is not a curse, as God Himself worked. We should honour God as we carry out our jobs, and it is right to seek to do them well.
But how can we do this safely, when all around us – the very jobs we work in; the very news programmes we watch; the media discussions we are forced to engage in – goes completely against our Christian worldview? In fact, these aggressive non-Christian ideologies are not just going against us; they are identifying us, shaming us, and then snatching our livelihoods in some cases. Many Christians are scared – scared to post their beliefs on social media. Some pastors feel compelled to sugar-coat the Gospel, and many of us refrain from sharing views in regular informal discussions that may later come back to implicate us. I do not think it has anything really to do with the fact that we are loving God any less, but there is a sense that suffering may be inflicted upon us and our families if we do not begin to silence ourselves in the name of ‘wokeness’ and ‘tolerance’. The thing is, on the surface, many of these ideologies seem to advocate very ‘normal’ things. However, it is not tolerance the secular world is actually advocating; it is complete acceptance and submission to ideologies that conflict with the Bible we believe. These groups do not understand (or, rather, choose not to understand) that our faith is our identity and what guides our lives. It is not a social club for us. The Word of God literally brings life and instruction to all believers. We believe it and choose to follow it. We recognise there are other beliefs and ideologies and, while we can tolerate these, forcing us to accept them automatically becomes a real problem. We love God first, and His precepts guide us on how to live the best way possible.
What should our posture be as Christians?
1. We need to remember we are in fact aliens and strangers on this earth. This world is not our home.
1 Peter 11:13
‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.’
2. We should remember that, as believers, we should expect persecution.
2 Corinthians 12:10
‘That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’
3. Reflect on the story of Daniel and his friends. When the king passed a decree requiring the people to serve the gods of Nebuchadnezzar and the image of gold he had set up, Daniel’s friends refused – even though the consequence was to perish in a fiery furnace.
‘… and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?”’
‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”’
The world is growing more anti-Christian on a daily basis. Balancing our love for our fellow man – and ensuring we do not compromise our faith – is at the core of our daily existence.
The reality is we may get cancelled, but where do we put our hope?
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Kimshaw Aiken is an educator and a writer.