America's attention right now is focused on Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses and was jailed for her stance. Should she have obeyed the law, stood her ground or just resigned?
When President Obama defied the Defense of Marriage Act that was passed into law by Congress in 1996 and vowed not to defend it in court, he was applauded for his courage. But when an unknown county clerk defies a law because of her religious beliefs, she is condemned and mocked. Talk about double standards.
If every Christian in America resigned from their jobs instead of standing for their religious beliefs, what would happen to our nation? As Edmund Burk famously said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
When man's laws violate God's laws, Christ-followers have a moral obligation to obey the higher law. Peter and John declared in Acts 4:19, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge." There is a long history of people who disobeyed man's laws because they answered to a higher law.
Should Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have obeyed the law of the land and worshipped the image?
Should Daniel have obeyed the law and not prayed to God?
Should Esther have kept silent about a Persian law that had been passed to kill all the Jews?
Should John the Baptist have been silent about Herod's immorality?
Should Jochebed have obeyed the king's law and allowed Moses to be killed?
Should Rosa Parks have obeyed the law and given up her seat on the bus to a white person?
We shouldn't be surprised by the increase of persecution against Bible-believing Christians. In Matthew 24:9-13, Jesus foretold what is happening today: "Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. Then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many. Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
The Bible teaches that true Christians will be persecuted, whereas lukewarm Christians won't be persecuted because they don't live any different than the world. You can't be both the friend of God and a friend of this world (James 4:4). We must continue preaching the gospel of Christ in a spirit of love and compassion, but at the same time, stand firm for our biblical convictions. If we don't stand for something, we will fall for anything.
Brian Alarid is the lead pastor of Passion Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is the New Mexico Field Representative for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association/My Hope.