We were assigned the scenario that we receive a call from a church friend with a moral question. He says that he was asked to falsify a federal document at work. He is afraid that if he refuses to do so he will be fired, and his young family of four will have no income to rely upon. In a world where white lies are accepted as okay, this is a scenario that can be hard for a Christian to tackle but it must be handled in an appropriate way. We will be looking at this through the Bible, most specifically through the scope of Matthew 5/The Sermon on the Mount and through other teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
When we are faced with the question of if we should do something that we know is wrong it is easier for us to say no, but when consequences come along with doing the right thing, it makes it harder to actually make the right answer. The question comes up of, If God really loves me wont he want me to do what is best for my family and just lie so I still have a job?
While God wants us to be happy and safe, He still gave a set of rules and he expects us to follow them no matter what we face. He actually knew that we would face problems with these things and so He gave us some direct instruction on this topic in Matthew 5:10-11. It says, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (biblegateway.com)
Blessed? Why would I be blessed when Im being fired from my job? That seems like more of a curse! Jesus wants us to know that when we follow His will do the right thing everytime there is going to be a reward for us. He says in verse 12, Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (biblegateway.com)
Again, it seems strange to rejoice and be glad after suffering but the statement right after tells us why we need to do so. We are going to have a great in Heaven! Our Christian race is what we run so that we can one day spend eternity in Heaven with God. Jesus says in this passage to all the people that are standing around listening to this sermon that if they do the right thing, even if its hard, you will get that.
Well werent these verses written for the people who lived in Jesus time who didnt have running water, electricity, etc? As John Piper says in his commentary of these verses The first question I would like to take up…is whether Jesuss words about persecution are relevant in these days. Has modern society become so tolerant that talk of persecution is outdated? My answer is that these verses are very relevant and not at all outdated. (desiringgod.org)
Jesus wanted us to know that even in times where things are easier than they used to be there will still be struggles. Each generation has a different set of persecutions that come in many different forms, but they do still exist. This scenario that we have been given is a great example of modern day trials, and potentially persecution.
In James 1:2-3 it says, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (biblegateway.com) These verses help us understand that when things such as being asked to lie about something at work comes up, we need to do what is right because it will eventually produce steadfastness. It will be easier to resist such things next time they appear in our lives.
Finally, doing the right thing in this situation will bring about a reward that is eternal and that is worth more than your job or anything else on this earth. The trials we go through in this life are to prove that we are worthy to inherit such a great reward when we die. Paul says in 1 Peter 1:6-7, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (biblegateway.com) When the revelation of Jesus Christ comes we can be confident in the fact that we will receive praise, glory and honor as these verses clearly state.
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