When people are going against popular opinion at great risk to their personal reputation, livelihood, and even safety, you have to wonder why.
If there is no reward other than a conscience compelled by truth, maybe it’s time to start listening.
Such was the case with the first followers of Jesus.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the apostles may have hung on to hope he might appear again, but after awhile you’d think they would finally concede he was gone and not coming back. They’d have moved on; probably starting to doubt whether this Jesus guy was actually who he claimed to be. They certainly would not have each gone to their brutal deaths (save John, who held tightly to his faith and wrote the book of Revelation years later) clinging stubbornly to their claims he had resurrected and was, in fact, the Messiah.
They had nothing to gain if they were lying. They, in fact, stood to lose everything if they didn’t recant. But because they had witnessed Jesus, his miracles, and his bodily resurrection from the grave, they stood firm.
Even Paul, who didn’t follow Jesus until after his ascension, had such a physical encounter with the Lord he was willing to set aside everything he had worked for his whole life, including his prestigious standing in the upper echelon of religious Jewish society. This former persecutor of Christians did a jaw-dropping one-eighty and proclaimed Jesus as Lord no matter who tried to silence him. He was imprisoned, beaten, and finally murdered for his unwavering, unquenchable faith.
Because he knew what he knew.
The truth can be irritating to people who don’t want to hear it. They’re happy just as they are, thank you! We’ve all been there. But when someone has a valid concern or argument, I think it’s always important to look at both the facts and the motivation of the person behind the information.
Sometimes, even if we can see truth, it’s easier to stay where we are because others around us might ridicule us if we become one of “those” people. When I became a Christian, many of my friends didn’t understand and thought I was just going through a phase. As I’ve gotten more serious about living my life according to God’s word, there has been a disconnect with yet others. But I can’t live my life to please other people. I have to live according to what I know in my heart to be true.
Our life choices have consequences, so it’s important to use wisdom and discernment in our decision making process. Weigh the information. Weigh the motivation. Weigh the possible outcomes. And make the best choice according to all three.
Don’t let peer pressure or fear of what others might think keep you from making wise decisions or holding to your convictions. After all, the consequences (good or bad) will be yours to face, not theirs.
As did the apostles, I choose to put my faith in Jesus. He has shown himself true time and time again; in his life, through his Word, and in my own personal experience. His motive is love, and the outcome is the beautiful restoration of a life ravaged by sin and assurance of salvation.
There’s not too much we can trust these days, but when you find truth, don’t let go. This is your life we’re talking about.