Plain talk – What are you going to choose?
Is a Christian allowed to be uncompromising? Yes, says the Chief Apostle. In fact, sometimes he has to be! Following are concrete examples from a divine service, which gives insight into a somewhat different world.
Three men were cast into a blazing furnace because they refused to worship another god. “This ancient story teaches us a lot about our life of faith,” Chief Apostle Schneider said on 22 January 2017 in N’Djamena in Chad after he had read verses 17 and 18 from Daniel 3 to the congregation.
Already before this, Daniel and his companions had stood up for their belief and refused the royal food and wine. And they had managed to find a compromise. But now they were being forced to worship an image, and it became clear to them: “This time, there is no use discussing it, we will not reach a compromise.”
Time to say no
“There are situations which leave no room for compromises,” the Chief Apostle said. “If we have to deny God in order to obtain something, then let us simply say no.” This is not only a question of the Ten Commandments, but also a question of the vows we made at our baptism and sealing. “If we are faced with a choice, then let us make sure we make the right one.”
“Sometimes concrete examples help us to understand things properly,” Chief Apostle Schneider continued, and went on to give three examples and spoke out plainly.
“Dear fathers, what choice do you make for your daughters?” he asked, addressing certain customs that are practised in many parts of Africa. Parents generally play an important role in the choice of spouse for their children. Occasionally, they even choose the spouse. It is not uncommon that the women are obliged to accept the belief of their future husbands. “What choice do you make?” the Chief Apostle asked, requesting the parents to also focus on the well-being of their children in terms of faith.
Success is not forbidden
The second example may differ considerably depending on the region, but it affects members all over the world: “Only because we are Christians does not mean that we do not want to have success in our lives here on earth. That is not forbidden.”
“Unfortunately, many people want success at any price,” the Chief Apostle said. They are prepared to crush anybody who gets in their way. To get what they want they are prepared to even lie or steal. And to be accepted in certain circles they may even have to engage in corruption.
Then it is time to make a choice, he said: “I prefer to remain faithful to God and belong to Him rather than receive what I want.”
And the third example applies to people regardless of where they live. “We all have our personalities. We all have our opinions and ideas.” But sometimes they are not compatible with the gospel, for example, when it comes to the matter of forgiveness. Is harmony with Jesus more important to us than our own pride and the desire for vengeance? Or in matters of unity … Is our wanting to be right more important than peace in the community?
“What are you going to choose?” Chief Apostle Schneider asked. “Jesus will grant us eternal salvation. Let us not hesitate, but choose the side Jesus Christ is on.”