“Did you have a nice weekend? What did you do?” my co-worker kindly asks me Monday morning.
Actually, I had an amazing weekend; I attended a Christian Conference with several hundred like-minded Christians and the speeches I was able to hear were incredibly eye-opening and helpful to me. In fact, I couldn’t have had a better weekend! But I don’t think my co-worker is a Christian and I don’t think she would understand how amazing my weekend was. So I reply with a round-about, general answer. “It was great, I really enjoyed the weather. I didn’t really do much, it was relaxing,” etc., and end with “How was yours?”
Then, afterwards, I get to thinking about how I basically just lied. Then I start thinking back to all the other times I have either directly lied or just swerved around the fact that I am a Christian and I believe certain things that my co-workers may not. Lunches together when some of them would tell stories that were not very pure, or went against what I believe in. I recall sitting there and smiling, simply because I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. I consoled myself with the thought that it’s not that I am afraid to stand up for what I believe, it’s just that they don’t understand and I want them to feel comfortable around me and I want to have a good relationship with them.
Bought at a price
I had always thought that I understood the verse that says “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. But it suddenly began to dawn on me that many of my actions did not live up to the real seriousness of this verse.
Then, after praying about the whole matter, I picked up my Bible and opened up to this verse: “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:23. As a person, I want to fit in with the people I am around, whether they be my co-workers or my group of friends, roommates, family, etc. I want to be well-liked and accepted; that’s pretty natural. But do I agree with ungodliness and things that God actually hates, things like backbiting, impure jokes or stories, flattery, flirting, etc. just so I can be accepted? Do I act more outgoing than I actually am, or put up the front that I am a super caring, selfless person when actually I am not really listening to what you are telling me, based on my current company?
If I feel like I am a different person depending on whom I am with at the moment, then that is because I am a slave of people!
Freedom from slavery
The good news is that I no longer ever need to be a slave of people again! Never! Not even once! Jesus constantly hadunder his feet (1 Corinthians 15:27) and God has given me that same promise. “And the God of peace will shortly.” Romans 16:20. I don’t need to go around like a slave of whomever I am with, not even able to “own my own thoughts.” Instead, I can have timidity and fear of exclusion completely under my feet!
The following week at work goes totally differently. When my co-worker asks me about my weekend, I happily and naturally tell her that I went to church on Sunday. Then, as I progress throughout my day and overhear backbiting, gossiping, or impure stories, I clearly see these as opportunities. I can either choose to go along with my co-workers and remain a slave of them, or I can show in some way that I disagree and do not wish to be a part of the current they are swimming in, whether that means saying something or just walking away. In any case, they know that I am a Christian and they have learned what I stand for.
That verse in 1 Corinthians 7:23 is a powerful weapon for me when I am tempted to be afraid of what people think about me. I am very happy for the possibility to become free from being a slave to people. It’s completely possible and God can do this extremely quickly. He promises that! (Romans 16:20)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.