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Monday: In a Foreign Court — 19 Comments

  1. There are several of my Atheist friends who I have not told that I am a Christian, let alone that I am a Seventh-day Adventist. It is simply a case that the interest that brings us together has nothing to do with religion, and because knowing their personalities, such information would set up a barrier to the work we do together. That does not stop me from acting like a Christian and affirming Christian principles. Christianity should be able to be lived without the label being attached to it.

    Often when someone announces their label, it is to expect privilege or special consideration. I remember going through immigration control at an airport in a foreign country when a rather vociferous woman with considerable "presence" fronted the passport official with a loud raspy voice, "I am a citizen of the United States of America, and proud of it!" I was rather hoping that she was not flying on the same plane as me. I was and it wasn't pleasant. (To my many USofA friends, I know you well enough not to stereotype you with this woman)

    I suspect that Mordecai's advice to Esther was to be discrete about the use of labels.

    • Maurice – you noted that: “ … , and because knowing their personalities, such information would set up a barrier to the work we do together.” Matt.5:14-16 speaks to ‘letting the light which emanates from within so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’

      ‘So shine’ qualifies who the ‘recipient’ of the 'benefit' is - God. Those exposed to 'good works', 'experiencing the light’ ought to be able to see it as coming from the Father and “glorify Him.” When these friends ‘observing His Light through you’ do not know you being a Christian, to whom will they give the glory – ‘who receives the ‘pad on the back’; their goodwill?

      Eph.2:1-10 – ”…..For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

      • Phew, Brigitte! You make is sound so complicated. My friends needed a light and I am there to turn the switch on. My prayer is that they will see the light. Explanantions don't make the light shine brighter.

        • You are right, Maurice - 'explanations don't make the light shine brighter".
          When they know that you are a Christian, have you considered that if your friends ask questions about the source of the 'Light in you' and receive your 'explanations' with an open heart, becoming a fellow believer like you, they are then able to be/live in Christ and shine forth the light themselves! 🙂

  2. Hey, good season greetings to everyone. Maurice, being silent on one's religious beliefs at some point is beneficial to both party as you have suggested, and that's your MO, Jesus on the other hand, after he had healed several persons cautioned them not to tell anyone. What was His reason to do this?

    • Hello
      Thats a good question. Jesus knew that publicity over such miracles might hinder His mission and divert public attention from His message.
      Our Savior also knew that the hatred from the religious leaders could intensify too soon, and thus Satan would have influenced the religious leaders to kill Him too soon.
      Prophetically, it was important for Jesus to die in the middle of the week, ( Dan. 9 ) on Passover , as the Lamb of God .

  3. I believe at least one reason Mordecai did not want Esther to reveal her identity was being a woman from a captive country and being beautiful would make her vulnerable to being taken advantage of, as was Sarah in Egypt.

  4. Today's lesson continues to add to my conundrum about the story of Esther and my questions about how God works. Two weeks ago we studied about Paul in Thessalonica, Berea and Athens, and how he did not keep silent even though he knew that he would be in danger for speaking out about his beliefs. However, now we are reading that we should be quiet about our beliefs if the environment is perceived to be hostile to our religion. Well, what should I believe?

    • I don't think it is a case of "either/or" but rather wisdom in knowing when. If I made a big show, talking about Christianity to my atheist friends I would lose them as friends and with that, the opportunity to continue to witness to them. "Witness through action continuously! Speak only when necessary!"

      And as we already know, Esther held her tongue and at the right time she stood up and said, "I am a Jew and these are my people!" That takes wisdom, courage, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

      • Did Daniel and his friends keep quite in Babylon even when the environment was hostile towards them? They didn't. Why should one chose to keep quite about God because he wants to keep his atheist friends?

  5. My question is the same as Melvin's;should we be quiet about our religion or connection with Christ whenever the situation is hostile and risky?Put in mind Peter's denial.

    • As explained by Maurice, it takes wisdom as to when to remain silent and when to speak out.
      After all, Esther ended speaking out (at tbe right time) that she is a Jew.
      So, we ought to be led by the Holy Spirit when to remain silent and when to speak out about our faith. We will all end up speaking about who we are and the Christ we believe in.

    • I have been in situations where a religious person "unloaded" the "gospel" on others as a "witness," but never once have seen good come from such. I have also experienced situations where the mind of person was open and asking about my faith because of principled words and actions in my life.

      We should be in constant communication with our Lord and Saviour and listen to wisdom that his Spirit will give. Our Lord has given us the promise that his Spirit will be beside us and in us, and will guide us into all truth, if we are not so full of ourselves that we cannot hear the still small voice speaking to our hearts. The Spirit will tell us when to keep silence and when and how to speak of the Way, the Truth and the Life in due season.

  6. After reading the whole book of Esther, I am not sure how to answer the question posed in this lesson. Does this question single out the members of the 7th Day Adventists fellowship of needing to be careful not to disclose their affiliation? If so – why?

    Christians in general and their God receive scorn from all quarters since the inquisition was established through the Roman Catholic Church with support from local governments. Are we to disavow our Christianity because of these dark times disfiguring the Image of our loving God and his followers? No!

    Man’s acts do not prove or disprove God’s Truth, Honor, and Glory. Nothing that man does changes anything about who our God is; no matter the conduct of His people or whatever they devise in His name. He stands above all rules and laws man can degree to support Him or to oppose Him.

    In the book of Esther, I could not find any indication that Jewish people were discriminated against in King Xerxes’s empire; no evidence that King Xerxes was biased against Jewish people to single them out for harsher treatment of any kind.

    The story about Mordecai and Esther, King Xerxes and Harman seems to me to be about integrity; upright conduct, as well as God’s ways to deal with plans deviced by a jealous man who wanted to harm and do away with His people. But our God is omnipresent and omnipowerful.

    This account shows that Mordecai and Esther acted prudently under the given circumstances. Mordecai, not kneeling down to honor Haman, started a chain-reaction of cunningly devised plans to destroy the Jews. To Haman, it was just a personal matter of pride, but to our God, it was the time to show the world another example of how much He loves His people.

    Matt.10:16 EASY - ”Jesus then said to his disciples, ‘Listen well. I am sending you to people who will want to kill you. You will be like sheep among wild animals. You must watch carefully, like snakes do. But you must also be good and kind like doves.”

  7. As Esther, you don't have to shout you are a Christian in order to be a Christian. Many have used such label so as to find favour or something. Christianity is lived, not shouted.

  8. My answer to the final question: I think in most situations we should not be overt about our faith at the beginning. I think Maurice is right that it's very easy to build walls. I think we also have to be honest about our motives. Why do we want to tell everyone we're a Christian or an Adventist right away? I think sometimes we're a little bit proud of being "right" or even hope to invite persecution. I've been there and that's why I say that.

    However, I don't think hiding our beliefs overtly is best. I don't hide anything. As you get to know people, more and more of your life is known and people find out. I think that's how it should be.

    I also feel that hiding you are a Christian is fairly hard. At least several times people have guessed that I was a Christian without me saying anything. I also have had encounters with people that I didn't know well and found out they were Christians. And you know what? I was not surprised at all. In both cases they were kind people with a very positive outlook. I just had a gut feeling and I was right. I pray that is true of me too.

  9. Shall I openly express my beliefs, or not? When? Again, this is a matter of being connected to the Holy Spirit's "whispering system." Because I never know if what I declare would result in a blessing or a curse. Being aligned with the Universal Creator makes all the difference! Witnessing Jesus will always be a blessing.

  10. The comments have been great food for thought.

    There are possibly times and places for discretion and for full disclosure but both can be done to further the cause of the Gospel.

    If I hide my beliefs to protect myself as Peter would obviously be a mistake.

    Yet to use discretion in order to reach someone who needs a gentle approach seems different than denying Christ or trying to save my own pride.

    There is a point however when even discretion will no longer cover the obvious fact that I am a Christian.

    I suspect that in Maurice's case his atheist friends know that he is a christian but are not willing to have controversial conversations on the topic at this time. When the time is right the subject will be broached.

    Peter outright denied Christ and he was not able to hide his connection to Jesus from those around the fire that night. Many times people pick up on and understand much more than they let on.

    It is hard many times to know when to be bold and harvest the field and when to gently water the seedlings. Pray for the Lord of the harvest that He gives wisdom to the workers in His fields.

    I need my eyes opened to see how the Holy Spirit is working and to understand the part He would have me do... but in all things may I never deny or hide the Truth because of my shame or pride.

    I read Ezekiel 3:17-21 this morning in my devotion. It is a challenge to me to not hold back as the warnings of the Lord are life and death. I still think this needs to be placed in balance but sobering and serious when we consider the consequences if the gospel is not given.


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