Regardless of the Consequences by Deon Crafford
Daniel 3:13-18 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.[c] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d]18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Acts 4:18-22 They called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
In the past year the CEO of a large company resigned his/her position and the media was quick to write glowing testimonials about this person’s role in industry, almost as though it was a good marketing ploy to wax lyrical about him/her. Those in the know and on the inside though were perplexed at these testimonials because they were the ones that first hand saw and experienced the havoc caused by this rather chaotic period of leadership. But few if any would go public in putting the record straight, as that would in all likelihood have been judged to be unfavourable through a number of social positioning theories. The markets however treated things differently because on the day of the resignation, the share price of this company rose above the industry norm in various multiples. When money is at stake, political correctness goes out the door (unless off course it helps you position to make/take more money). The stock market being politically non-correct, spoke loudly what others were too conflicted to say, that there was relief at the resignation. Why do I start with this seemingly politically incorrect introduction? Because we’re living in an era where everyone is so fearful of not saying the wrong thing – the walking on eggs society. Those that call the truth as it is, are often branded crazy radicals, insensitive to the social dynamic of the time. Any firm declaration of one’s beliefs or faith may have one branded fundamentalist, an archaic traditionalist, a scientific ignorant or a dogmatic misfit. Most Christians who have dared to be vocal and outspoken in their faith, would have experienced scornful if not sympathetic looks from those who believe they’re stuck in a long forgotten and meaningless history. This has caused some to perhaps back down from being open about their faith, in fear that this may have them ostracised or even lose out on opportunities for business or promotion. So when the consequences appear to carry too much risk or potential to cause harm to one’s ambitions, backing down or falling silent is a safer option. This approach is what we may call the world primacy approach – where the worldly consequences carry all the weight and where it supercedes one’s Spiritual conviction.
The champions of the Faith in the quoted Scriptures above did not even contemplate backing down, regardless of the threat to life and limb they were faced with. For them the relationship with God was so important and overpowering that no threat or consequence could even remotely cause them to consider worldly compliance and Spiritual backing-down. Their faithfulness to God, in no small measure implanted by His immeasurable faithfulness to them, is what held them on course – walking straight and proud into the consequences the world had prepared for them. If God is who He says He is and who I say He is; if He is the God to whom I bring my worship and adoration and if he is the God to whom we can come with all of our contaminated odour, then worldly consequences fade to grey. When the motivation of my being is truth, justice and compassion and not fear, acceptance and promotion, then consequences moves to the background. My connectedness to the Holy Spirit will determine which way I go; the weaker this relationship, the higher my vulnerability to be led by what the world dishes up as self-protectionism. A life lived in the Spirit is a life lived regardless of consequences. And no this does not proclaim a license to judge, label and reject others – the Spirit will not lead me there – but much more a call to proclaim the Gospel, the love of God for all mankind in speaking and living the truth.
If my living the truth treads on a worldly toe, then so be it. If the world is intent on driving Christ out of it, where will I find myself – dragged downstream by this fruit salad of post modernism, human rights, mediocrity, greed and shifting values; or standing confidently on the solid ground of my faith and relationship in Jesus Christ? Faithfulness will not hold on the brittle pedestal of political correctness or self-preservation, but much rather on the rock of internal conviction in the truth that is Jesus Christ. Boldly, even blindly following the lead of the Holy Spirit, is also declaring that consequences holds no value to me. It is then that I proclaim like Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. Regardless.
Love to all