Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog
You know that heart-pounding, sweaty palm moment? That happened to me today. In front of a whole room of people, I found myself alone on “strongly disagree” about teenagers having sex. Suddenly, I was being asked, “Why do you think that?”
I had a momentary panic. For a few nano-seconds I saw the expectant, curious faces of people I respected gazing at me, bewildered. People I would like to remain friends with. People who are probably about to change their opinion of me.
I wish I could say there was a burst of angelic singing, a halo of sunlight or a stirring soundtrack as I nailed my colours to the mast and stood there under the “Strongly Disagree” sign. That didn’t happen; I just wanted the floor to swallow me up.
Why was it such a big deal?
Quite simply, I really care what people think about me. (When it comes to shoes, I can overcome. They’re just shoes. Sorry, girls.) But with my values and my faith, it’s a rejection of me. Everything I hold dear is being rubbished and I feel utterly destroyed. I want to be liked. I really want to be liked.
But I want to please God more.
So I stood up for what I believe in, remembered our life group discussions, drawing encouragement from time with my prayer partner about living a life consistently for God, rejoicing to be counted worthy of standing up for the Name, and I held my ground in the Spirit’s power.
After I spoke, I think the only person shocked was me. Everyone nodded sagely (exercising those “fundamental British values” of tolerance and respect) and the session moved on.
The session leader asked the next question: a similar sexual ethics question.
I didn’t move.
But another girl on the course (also a Christian) joined me.
At that point, I knew I’d done the right thing, even though it meant I had to risk being liked –the thing I held most dear. If it glorifies God, encourages others, and helps them stand up and be counted, the risk is worth it.
I didn’t feel wise, standing alone under “strongly disagree”. I didn’t feel elated afterwards. Hours later, I look back and still want the floor to gape under my feet. Thank the Lord, my faith is not based on my feelings. I usually find this verse scary, but today it is a comfort:
Jesus said “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9