Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12: 42 – 43
It’s hard to stand up for Jesus. He said it wouldn’t be easy. He said that people sought the praise of men rather than the praise of God, and it’s true, they still do today. Back in the day, people could not confess Jesus in the synagogue, but they could confess Him outside. Today, it’s the opposite, Jesus is freely confessed in the church, but you cannot mention His name outside. But confessing Jesus doesn’t always mean calling on His name or saying He is the Son of God. Sometimes confessing Jesus calls you to act in a way that makes you different and unpopular, especially with people in the church.
There are many people who confess the name of Jesus in the church, but at the same time are back-biting and divisive. In my humble opinion, those that stand by and watch such actions without standing firmly against it because they are ‘afraid’ of that brother or sister, are just as responsible as the ones perpetrating the behavior.
For example, if I am aware that someone appears to be gossiping or acting in a way which appears discriminatory, should I not question them in a non-accusatory way and ask them about the purpose of their conversation or actions? Based on their response, should I not challenge them as to whether that is the behavior Jesus requires of us?
I want to be brave enough to stand up for Jesus and for what is right. There are times when it is difficult for us to accurately judge a situation, but there are other instances where we can protect the integrity of the church and what Jesus stood for. I want to have the courage to challenge people on these issues in a way that is loving, but also letting them know that – “we just don’t do ‘that’ at this church”. I will confess the name of Jesus in word and action, even if it means I lose the praise and approval of people within the church or outside.
We Bless Your Holy Name and thank You for another day of life. I pray and ask you to help each and every one of us to stand up for You and for what is right, even though it may make us unpopular. Help us to seek Your approval, and not the approval of men. It’s not easy, and it is often uncomfortable, but unless we experience difficulties, we will not grow in character and wisdom. Teach us Your ways and help us to remember that we are not alone, because You promised You would be with us until the very end of the age.
In Jesus’ Name