One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the constant accusations of intolerance from people in the real world. Christians are labeled as narrow minded, bigots, intolerant, bullies, and many other horrible things. It’s the irony here that gets to me. The very same people who tell me I’m not supposed to tell a homosexual that I believe that their lifestyle is wrong are those who vehemently tell me that I am wrong, or that some other human action is wrong. I have had people I know from the real world express how Christians shouldn’t tell people what the “right” way to live is, and then days later, complain that something else is wrong.
So often, I hear people say that if I think that divorce is wrong, I don’t have to do it. If I think gay marriage is wrong, I don’t have to do it. If I think that premarital sex is wrong, I don’t have to do it. As if that should alleviate my feelings of those actions being wrong. However, do you think that same argument would stand for the things we believe? Imagine if you told an evolutionist that if he doesn’t believe in creation, he doesn’t have to, but you still would. Or if you told an animal rights activist that if they think that eating meat is wrong, they just shouldn’t do it, and they should leave you alone with your steak. Nothing like that would ever fly with the real world. We are told we are bullies for expressing our beliefs and holding to them, but they tend to bind and gag us in the process. This, in my mind, qualifies as bullying.
I asked some of my friends who have been out in the real world a bit what they thought and what they ran into, and I got a lot of varying responses. Conservative Christians have been called narrow minded, intolerant, and practically labeled as idiots by teachers in secular universities. Why is it that when a creationist states their opinion, it’s seen as idiotic, but if an abortionist stands up, their opinion is widely respected and practically applauded? It baffles me.
We are told that we are crazy for believing what we believe. Often, the people telling us this don’t even understand why they believe what they do; they just are convinced that we are wrong. In my freshman year, I was quite literally laughed at to my face for answering questions about what I believe. I went to the dining hall with my roommate and a couple of guys from our floor. There, I was sort of bombarded with loaded questions. I was asked my opinion on creation, abortion, and gay marriage. Even though my roommate had already told these guys what I believed, they asked simply to hear me say it and be able to laugh in my face. Don’t think this kind of thing only happens in liberal college campuses. I have been asked the very same loaded questions, asked for the intent of amusement at my expense by people who live right here in West Michigan, by people I thought respected me and cared about me. This is what the world does to us. It bullies us, but labels us bullies. It tells us to be quiet in loud, harsh voices. It does not tolerate our faith, but tells us we are intolerant.
Stand fast. It is all worth it. We cannot let ourselves become cold or angry because of it either. We are called to continue to live our lives with Christian joy radiating from our every action. Even when we are discriminated against, mocked, humiliated or fought with, we must stand our ground and do it with humble joy in our Lord who gives us that strength. The real world isn’t really all that nice to Christians. It never has been. So don’t be surprised when you come face-to-face with it. Instead, repeat with me the quote that has gotten my through college so far: Martin Luther—“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God.” Stand fast, beloved. We cannot deny the God in whom we trust. No matter what the world says or does, we will continue to follow the commands of God.