Tragically we live in a time and culture in which the default behavior for many who are unhappy with something seems to be picketing, screaming, vandalizing, burning buildings, and some resort to even violence. It’s especially unfortunate when those who claim to be Christians upholding righteous causes resort to such unrighteous methods to make their positions known! Shame on them – Jesus is NOT pleased – God is NOT impressed!
When the disciples were tempted to use such methods in defense of Jesus Himself, saying “Look, Lord here are two swords!” He said to them, “It is enough!” (Luke 22:38) On another occasion the Bible says, “Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword! Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?’” (Matthew 26:51-53) One more… even in the Old Testament the directive was, “Thou shall not follow a multitude to do evil!” (Exodus 23:2)
I just finished reading Daniel 6 this morning during “coffee with the Lord” – the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Daniel went through that unjust and frightening experience because of the plots of jealous colleagues and bad laws! The King’s edict said, “Whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except the king, shall be cast into the den of lions.” Daniel did not picket – he did not mobilize a revolt – he did not try to overthrow the government. He did what he usually did, without fanfare or fuss… “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” Then he simply trusted God to protect him and vindicate him… and God did!
Sometimes I think if Daniel were alive today (and the Bible indicates he is… in heaven), he would give Christians this advice for influencing our culture for God… Don’t scream, don’t yell, and don’t organize a revolt! Behave in a Christlike way and go on living out your values in a secular – even pagan – culture! Trust God to protect you and vindicate you! And do everything you can, as God gives you opportunities to influence that culture for God and the Gospel with a righteous lifestyle and witness!” Yup, that’s what I think Daniel would say! Oh God, help me to live that way!