Expressing Faith

When you aren't supposed to talk about religion, but you should be talking about religion...
Photocredit: FreeImages.com/Rainer Berg
I grew up in a generation that was taught respect and tolerance as core values, even though it doesn't always seem like it. We were brought up to respect each other's differences. You have to give respect to get respect, right? It makes sense that I wouldn't want anyone telling me that I should change my beliefs so it can't be right for me to try force someone to change theirs. Yet, somehow that became avoiding the topic all together...

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Yesterday, I was eating lunch with a coworker-friend. We started talking about well done steak and why I don't like pink in my steak. Now, I've never liked pink in my steak—even before I realized as Christians we weren't supposed to be eating blood—so, my explanation didn't have anything to with faith. I explained my original disdain for pink in my meat: it reminds me that I'm eating a life (ironically, that is the same reason God tells us not to eat blood: the blood is the life force of the animal). In response, she began talking a dish her mom used to make that included blood cubes, to which she correctly assumed I had never eaten. She said something along the lines of "I know it sounds nasty, but it tastes good." At that moment I thought I should be explaining that God forbade us from eating blood.

But something stopped me: the devil in that training of tolerance and respect, I presume. I began asking myself if the person I was talking to was even Christian. I've never heard her mention church, Jesus, God, prayer, or anything of the sort. I thought to myself, she isn't coming sideways at me for not eating blood the way most people do, so I should respect her culture and not push the topic. That idea of tolerance and respect that was hammered into us at such an early age meant I didn't stop to tell her what I believed and she might never realize the act was displeasing God.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)Hebrews 10:23 KJV
7So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.Ezekiel 33:8 KJV
Whether my friend believes in God or not, I refrained from professing my faith in God. I wavered in proclaiming something that completely changed my life. I'm not saying that I should have been rude and directed the comment as though I was judging her. No, that's not Godly either. What I should have said was the truth, "even though I never liked the sight of blood in my meat, I also realized God commanded us not to eat blood throughout the Bible—including the New Testament—so, now I also don't consume blood for religious reasons." It's such a simple statement, really. Yet, at the time no words would come to my mind.

We live in a society where we've been conditioned not to offend people. We all know that there are three things you don't discuss in polite conversation: Politics, Religion, and Sex.[1][2][3] We've been taught to put God on the back burner when the Bible teaches us the exact opposite. I get the notion of not harassing people; I don't think trying to force feed your beliefs down someone's throat is the right approach for anything. However, I don't think you should hide your beliefs for the sake of keeping your job, social standing, offending a non-believer, etc. Is that not the definition of denying Christ? Is that not a step toward being unable to buy or sell (buying and selling being directly linked to your occupation) if you are following Jesus?

I'm not sure how many of you dismiss topics of religion when around those you only sort of know or in certain settings the way I dismissed it in this one, but I'm sure I'm not alone. We have to learn how to be respectful to others but always on fire for God. We're supposed to be shining His light of truth, but we can't be shining if we're trying to fit in.

References

  1. Glassdoor Team. "Sex, Religion & Politics: Why You Should Never Discuss Them At Work". Glassdoor. August 2012
  2. Summers, Kristina. "Top 5 Things You Never Discuss at Work". Excelle. 2016
  3. Kumar, Jessica. "Three things we don't talk about in America: or do we?". The Times of India. June 2011

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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