All seven of our children attended a Christian elementary school, followed by several years in public schools. Although the government-regulated high school taught opinions we didn’t always like, Nate and I thought this was a good chance for our teens to decide what they believed.
One day Louisa came home with quite a story. In her freshman English class, the teacher had sparked a lively political debate by pitting one group of students against another. Then he’d told them to line up from most liberal to most conservative, based on the opinions that had been offered during discussion.
Louisa ended up at the very end of the line, identified as “most conservative.” The teacher quizzed her, as well as the boy deemed “most liberal,” garnering extremely diverse viewpoints on the same political hot topics. After a few minutes he said to Louisa, “I’ll bet you’re a Christian.” When she answered affirmatively, he said, “What brand? I mean, what kind?”
Louisa didn’t even pause. She said, “The born-again kind.”
I had to hand it to her. She came on strong and labeled herself, despite knowing she might be teased for her extreme point of view.
All of us have occasionally been handed a golden opportunity to testify for Christ, then forfeited it by watering down our answers. I’ve done it repeatedly, always regretting it later.
One of the many admirable traits of Jesus was his consistent refusal to back away from telling the truth… the whole truth. He paid no mind to how it would be received. It wasn’t that he relished rejection, and he experienced the ultimate rejection since he was murdered for his beliefs. It was that his relationship with God was #1, and he wouldn’t compromise it in any way.
The question then is, what’s wrong with me? Why am I so worried about how people will respond? Is their approval more important to me than God’s?
Something Jesus said has always bothered me:
“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (10:33)
I certainly want Jesus to stand up for me when that time comes. The thought of him saying, “Her? No, not her,” is frightening. But which scene scares me more; that one then, or public ridicule now?
It’s good to put ourselves through an occasional behavioral analysis. Jesus tells us that if we label ourselves “Christian” or “born again,” we’re going to be sitting ducks for rejection by those who aren’t. He said we should expect it and should even prepare to be hated. After all, he was.
Louisa acted courageously that day in class, opening herself up to mockery by telling the truth about herself. But by doing so, she won Jesus’ endorsement in front of the heavenly Father and actually brought pleasure to the Godhead.
“Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)