Unapologetic

Spending time with some of my friends online—a few folks in a gaming community I play Xbox with—I have occasionally been questioned about my faith. I would get typical questions from ‘How often do you go to church?” to controversial ones like, ‘How do you feel about abortion?’. I’m not one who enjoys being ‘put on the spot’ so I had begun to shrink away. Even in person, I tended to be quiet about my faith but not because I was ashamed, it was because I was afraid.

For some reason, bringing up religion always rubbed someone the wrong way. I’ve been teased, poked, and tested by people—strangers and friends—whenever my faith has been mentioned and I got tired of it. Like many Christians, I don’t enjoy hearing my faith being made fun of so to protect it, I decided to keep quiet about it. For years, I went on keeping my faith a secret, not even speaking up about my pride and joy: The Rebel Christian. All that time, I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I saw an interview with a comic artist who frequently made strips including crude religious humor, that I realized something which changed my faith dramatically. The artist was an atheist and said that he never knew he was being offensive because he didn’t think [religious] people took him seriously. In his own words…

“I thought devout Christians didn’t pay people like me any attention because they knew that God didn’t pay me any attention. Why would they feel offended by an infidel? I always thought they had the frame of mind that God didn’t need them to defend Him or that their beliefs were strong enough that they didn’t need to feel upset by my stupid jokes because I don’t understand God the way they do.”

That most certainly does not justify the artist’s rude comic strips, however, it does speak volumes to what unsaved people think of Believers.

I used to be the kind of Christian who would get upset at jokes, remarks, and rude comments about my faith. I took offense, started debates, and would argue with anyone—friends, strangers, and especially my professors in college. Even though I was quiet about my faith, I was not one to stay quiet when I felt my faith was being attacked. But after seeing that interview, I changed. I realized, ironically, that this sinner was right. God doesn’t need me to stand up for Him. He doesn’t need me to fight on His behalf. He doesn’t me to be angry in His stead.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care when someone is rude to you. I’m saying that you shouldn’t allow yourself to be lead into debate by people who are only looking for attention or trying to start an argument.

This is one of my favorite scriptures on this topic: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you … 16. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” I Peter 4:14 & 16 NIV

Knowing this scripture, I praise God when I am criticized for my faith. I welcome the naysayers and those who tease and jeer at me. I know who I am in Christ and I know whose I am as a child of the Most High God. I no longer feel angry when people make fun, I no longer find myself in pointless debates. Why do I need to be offended by the words of an infidel—of some unsaved person who doesn’t even know what they are saying?

Today, Believers face many trials. Our society has collectively decided that religion has no place in it. We are a dwindling folk. Our morals are disliked, our standards hated, and our lifestyle considered ‘closedminded’. But we don’t live for their approval. We live to please God and our standards and our morals and our lifestyle was set apart by Him. He knows people make fun. He knows people tease but as the Bible says in Psalms 37:12-13 NIV “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

Does that sound like someone who gets upset over silly jokes? God laughs at the mockery of the wicked. He thinks it’s funny! So, if our Creator hears these jokes, debates, and sad theories for the creation of the earth, and laughs at them … why don’t you? We are supposed to have the mind that is in Christ (“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:5 NLT) so if God does not consider such jokes and remarks worth His time, then neither should we.

So, how do we learn to be bold and open when it comes to our faith? You learn not to care.

It might sound like I am trying to get you all to become rude and ill-mannered—‘shoving’ your beliefs into the faces of infidels left and right. But that is exactly the opposite of what I want. Recently, a lesbian friend of mine shared with me that she’d purchased an “awesome” pride bracelet to display her support of the LGBTQ community. She is well aware of my faith and where I stand as a Believer on same sex marriage, yet she felt bold enough to share this information with me as if she expected some sort of celebration and praise for her new jewelry.

She did not get one.

I did not, on the other hand, scold her but instead swiftly changed the topic. Still, in the back of my head, I wondered—what if I were like that with my faith? What if I was bold enough to share every time I got a new crucifix? Every time I bought an awesome Christian t-shirt? Or every time I had a wonderful session in prayer?

Honestly, fear of being made fun of still rises at the thought of being so open about my faith. But then I think, I don’t care. Jesus wasn’t afraid of being made fun of. He was run out of villages, talked about, confronted for debate, and called a liar and a demon. Imagine if He let that turn Him away from the Cross. We wouldn’t be here today.

I am no longer apologizing for who I am as a child of God.

I won’t say “Sorry, I can’t hang out because of church.” Or “Sorry, but I don’t believe in same-sex marriage.”  

I’m not sorry about it. When was Jesus ever sorry for doing what was right in the eyes of God? Even when His parents were worried and searching for Him, Jesus’ reply was not: “I’m sorry, but I was spreading the gospel.” He said, “Why were you searching for me? … Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49 NIV  

Stop saying sorry for what you believe in, as if it’s some shameful mistake you have to apologize over. I no longer care if the name of Jesus offends you. I refuse to believe ‘religion has no place here’ whether it is school, work, or hanging out with friends. I am a Believer and that will never change. I’m no longer afraid of someone finding out that I’m Christian—I’m afraid they won’t be able to tell.

Stand up and stand strong for what you believe in. You believe in the mightiest King of all kings and Lord of all Lords. There is no one greater than Jesus Christ. There is no other God but the Almighty. There is no one else who will ever die for you, and if there is—Jesus beat them to it.

It’s one thing to be shy about your faith, but it’s another offense entirely to be apologetic about it. You have nothing to be sorry for. Christ is the only one who can forgive your sins, so if you are saying sorry I hope it’s to the Lord.   

Again, I’m not encouraging Christians to stand screaming outside of abortion clinics. Nor am I suggesting we hold sit-ins on evolution science classes in school. I’m simply saying, we don’t need to stutter when someone asks us how we feel about controversial topics. It’s OK to be against abortion or same sex marriage. It’s OK not to drink alcohol. It’s OK not to have seen Fifty Shades of Grey, and it’s OK to practice abstinence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your beliefs and if they don’t like them, tell them to take it up with Christ because He is the head of your life.

After all this, the message I want to be clear is: Love Christ. Stand up for Jesus. And never say sorry for it.