He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” -Matthew 21:13 (NLT)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. -James 4:4 (NIV)
The other day, my little boy told me he didn’t want to go to school any more because one of his classmates kept chasing him at recess. I told him that there were two things to do: stop running, and to tell the boy chasing him that he wouldn’t play with him any more if he kept chasing him.
With a troubled face, my son asked: But what if he cries?
It was then that I realized that sometimes parents tell kids to do or not do (insert action here) to avoid upsetting others. (“You don’t want that person to be upset, do you?”) But that not only trains kids to think that placating others is the priority, but also potentially gives manipulative control to those who will act upset to get their way.
Jesus didn’t tiptoe around people who were offended by who He was and what He did. He didn’t let others bully him or determine how He’d live.
He lived by doing what was right in His Father’s eyes, upsetting to others or not. And likewise, so should we live, and show it to our children, and spouses, and friends and family…and all the world who watch us. If we’re living to please the Lord, that’s often at odds with a world that wants us to be nice and quiet Christians, and not be blazing beacons of His light.
So I told my son that we do what is right, even if it upsets others. We face our problems. We confront them. We speak out to and against them. We set boundaries. By doing so, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He wasn’t a shrinking violet or doormat, and neither should we be.
We glorify God by following in His Son’s truthful and righteous footsteps, not by rolling over to keep a false peace.