Deciding to stand up for something you believe in can often lead to opposition
However, it doesn’t always have to be a rough ride.
Some of it depends on us doing our best to make sure our standpoint goes smoothly for all involved.
As we continue our series looking at the story of Daniel, we learn our approach to the problem can make all the difference to the attitude of those we are addressing.
Last week we learned to choose what we go to the wall for. Daniel decided his “battle” would be to not consume the food offered to the Babylonian gods.
Today, we’re learning our approach to the issue need not be a battle at all.
Daniel could have outright refused to eat the food and drink the wine. However, this would have caused all sorts of trouble.
The official in charge of Daniel and his friends was responsible for the welfare of these young men. If they did not look healthy or perform well, his job was on the line. He might lose his job, but he would definitely lose his head. By refusing to eat the food, Daniel could have alarmed the his master and made him angry.
Daniel didn’t demand, he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself by eating the royal food.
Daniel, in his wisdom, made a suggestion: Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.
By asking rather than demanding, Daniel was at the mercy of his superior.
Yet, we learn again that God was in control of the situation. God gave the royal official an attitude of favor towards Daniel.
Of course, after ten days Daniel and his friends look better nourished and healthier than the other guys eating the rich food and drinking the wine. So, the official changed the diet for all of them.
The head man saw an opportunity for all the young men to look good, and for the king to commend him on doing an excellent job.
Daniel had done the man a favor.
Daniel made those above him look good. Daniel had no reason to be kind to the official. After all, he had been taken into captivity. But, in the most difficult of situations he treated other people as he wished to be treated.
We can apply the same lessons to our own situations at work or in college where we are required to do things that jar with our beliefs.
We should use integrity in the way we handle situations so as not to jeopardize or annoy the people we are working for.
They have good reason to ask you to do that certain thing and might not know a different way. Just like the official who thought the royal food was the best nutrition for the young men.
We must trust and believe God is in control of the situation.
So often we think it’s our responsibility to stand up for a belief or cause. We take it into our own hands. But, we must learn to trust God to work it out for us. After all, he knows our hearts and that’s more important than your outwards actions—unless it’s something that breaks the law.
Being a Christian, standing up for a value we believe in is not about making a point on what we believe is right, it’s being like Jesus. And, Jesus taught we are to submit to authority.
So, like Daniel, ask for permission. Put forward a suggestion. Don’t make an outright demand. It could go in your favor, or it could not. We need to respect those we work for. We must not jeopardize their positions.
Leave the decision in the hands of the person you work for.
Who knows … like Daniel, your work situation might improve. The person you work for might see an improvement and change. Then they will be excited about implementing this throughout your department, and looking good themselves.
Make those above you look good.
When you treat others well, then you will earn the respect of those you work for or study with, just as Daniel earned the respect of the official who was in charge. And, it will help you to succeed in your work and shine in your faith.
Dear God, help me to see that standing up for what I believe in does not always mean pushing others down, Instead, by helping them look good, I am showing You are good. Amen.