Have you ever been in a situation with family or friends, where you are the only one not participating in an activity, based on conviction?
I have found myself in scenarios where I didn’t like the activity going on so I sat all alone in another room and watched television. I prayed the entire time asking God, Am I wrong? Am I being judgmental? What’s the harm in participating?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to “belong,” but sometimes you have to choose not to belong. The Bible says that those who have surrendered their lives to the Lord are not of this world. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).
I want to know the correct way to handle scenarios that make me feel uncomfortable. Please show me your truth about all this. Am I over the top in this stand? Right after I prayed, I came across this passage in my Chronological Bible Study reading. I did not randomly choose it. It was the Scripture assigned to the morning after one of these situations:
“If you want to be my disciple you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
I do not think the word “hate” here means that you hate your family members. The Bible says we are to love others. I believe it may mean that you do not like something they are doing, so you do not support them in whatever that is.
This passage went on to say, “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, “there’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!” (Luke 14:28-30).
With the LORD in the lead, I have spent years building a ministry, and have tried to be “above reproach” through the strength God provides. I do not want to be the one that causes a sister or brother, family or friend, to stumble. If I had a moment of weakness, all of what had been established would be torn down in a second, and remain “unfinished.” The ministry would lose value, because it would be no different from any secular organization.
After reading that passage, I felt that God confirmed that what I did may not have been popular, but it was right for me.
This is not a message of judgment. Each of us have a specific cross to carry. Because I am called to ministry, my call may be different from yours. But the next time you are in a setting where you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit to take a stand, be strong, and know that while you may not feel like you belong, you will always belong to God.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name” (Psalms 23:3).