Can an atheist student organization on a college campus be forced to allow a Christian to take a leadership role? Can a heterosexual student run for president of the gay and lesbian student group? Is it possible for a Caucasian student to be in charge of the Black Student Union on campus?
Recently some Christian student fellowships on college campuses lost their ‘student organization’ status due to their selection of leadership principles. They are no longer able to set up a table and promote their fellowship on campus nor are they able to secure a room for meetings.
I am disappointed when I hear such things, but I am not surprised. Don’t think I am simply being a defeatist. It’s been my experience that those at odds with the principles of God (as exposed in the Bible), are usually at odds with those who identify with those principles – Christians.
Jesus said we shouldn’t be surprised when the world hates us, because it hated him. (John 15:18)
So, how do we defend ourselves? How do we retaliate? What should our response be? You may think that Jesus left those questions unanswered, but in fact he left quite a list of responses for us. Here are just a few:
- “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)
- “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)
- When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure… (I Corinthians 4:12)
- Therefore, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (I Peter 4:19)
In light of these verses, should our response to what we might consider injustice be to sit back and love those at whose hands our liberty is being stripped away bit by bit? Not exactly. We are not to sit back, or shrink back, but rather we are called to stand. (Ephesians 6:14…)
We are to stand for Christ, his principles, his word. We are going to face opposition, he told us we would. But we are not to fear, we are to continue to press on, walking and living in a way that honors him. The responses of others are not our concern. We are told to put on compassion, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, love, etc. in our behavior toward others. The outcome is to be left in the hands of a just, righteous, and sovereign God. We serve a king that is neither threatened nor hindered by opposition. We are simply called to be his ambassadors, representing him and living as faithfully as we can to his standards until he returns. And he will return!
In the meantime, I guess Christian student organizations are going to have to find other places to meet together. Teachers will pray for their students in their hearts and homes, not in classrooms. Nativity scenes will be displayed on private property, rather than in public settings. If we are living out the Christian life. If we are loving others by placing their best interests before our own, giving generously, meeting the needs of the outcast, orphan, widow, then our testimony will speak louder than any nativity scene.
That is our call. We are to graciously stand.