incognito no more
There used to be a time when Christians could just blend into the workplace environment and the expectation of many was that you left your faith at the door. As long as you could blend in with your co-workers and not ruffle any feathers, you could “let your light shine” in non-controversial ways. Being the nicest person in the office would hopefully bring you enough attention that people would inquire why you were always smiling no matter what was going on. And when they did, you were able to rip open your shirt, revealing the big “J” on your chest, and win them into the Kingdom. “Undercover Christian” was probably the most uncomfortably comfortable role most Believers would opt for at work and usually they could get away with it.
Well, that day is quickly coming to a close. Our society is becoming more hostile to Christians and open displays of Christianity. The issues Christians previously were willing to stand on the sidelines and just pray about are now coming to a workplace near you. And the option to stay silent could lead to some very detrimental consequences, including the erosion of your rights connected to the freedom of religious expression and activity that we are supposed to possess in this country.
A few examples of this erosion of respect for Christian values in the workplace over the past few years include:
- The Affordable Care Act forcing companies–including those who are owned by Christians–to provide birth control and abortion pills as part of their health care coverage to employees. Christian-owned Hobby Lobby faced fines of $1.5 million per day if they didn’t comply, until the Supreme Court stepped in and gave them a reprieve.
- The CEO of the national fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, had to fight a media backlash and boycott threats, because he stated in an interview that he supported the Biblical definition of marriage.
- The online dating site, eHarmony, which was initially targeted to Christian singles, was sued because it didn’t support matching options for same sex couples. In order to settle discrimination lawsuits they had to create another site for same sex couples and link it to their main web site.
- A Christian-owned cake-decorating company was sued because they didn’t want to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
- Multiple lawsuits across the country, including Alabama, New Jersey, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and many others, have focused on removing displays of the Ten Commandments from government and city property, claiming they violate the separation of church and state, never mind that most of the groups bringing these lawsuits have distorted the true meaning of that clause in the Constitution.
As Christian business owners, now is the time to prepare yourself for when real persecution comes – and it is coming. You need to know what you stand for and to be ready to stand for it without compromising. In the Book of Joshua, he had a come-to-Jesus meeting with the people where he challenged them to choose to live by the righteousness of God or just go with the flow of the culture of the place they were living.
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Will you compromise what God’s Word says because you’re afraid of losing a contract or going out of business? Will you cave into cultural pressures because you’re more concerned about your brand being tarnished in people’s eyes than how you look in God’s?
Jesus Himself said if anyone is ashamed of Him before people, then He would be ashamed of them at His second coming.
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
As a Christian business owner, your first responsibility is to love God, which is demonstrated by obeying His commandments and loving people. You are not to fear the ones who may take away your livelihood, but rather fear the One Who can destroy your soul (Matthew 10:28).
When you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness – even in your business – you can be assured that He will provide all that you need. It’s time to come out of the closet. You may not have a choice.