Our choices in the things that are seemingly so “personal” bring greater consequences than we could imagine. They impact not only us, but those around us and certainly our children. It’s how we handle the things that are treated as optional that dictates how we receive the things that determines the outcome of our attitude, consequential choices, relationships and legacy.
Many would suggest that our attitudes towards faith are simply between us and a god of our choice with not value or detriment to those around us so nobody should care. While it is true that we can’t dictate what the faith of another looks like, the thought that another’s faith couldn’t have any impact on us is simply not true.
Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the Lord and Abel’s was a better offering, brought in faith. As a result, he was blessed and Cain became frustrated with the lack of blessing as compared to Abel. God warned him to beware of his attitude, because sin waited to consume him, which it did. That consumption led him to murder Abel and he suffered the consequences, as did the generations that followed him.
Good story, I suppose, but let’s not miss the drivers. Hebrews 11 clarifies that it was “by faith” that Abel offered the better sacrifice, “by faith” that God counted him as righteous and it is also “by faith” that Abel still speaks, long after his death. His faith established him with God and created his legacy. His choice spilled out from just him to billions of people since him who know of his faith.
While we certainly don’t have license to decide for others, we should never believe that a life of faith is lived in a vacuum. The people who surround us impact us and our decisions based in faith impact the people who are around us. Our faithfulness also establishes a legacy and a generational blessing for those that follow us, giving our lives significance.
Our culture says to never discuss politics or religion so as to not offend. The problem with that is that eliminating things that might offend also eliminates what might bless. With wisdom and in love, putting our faith on display will show others the path towards relationship with God and a selflessness that comes from Him. What they do with it is up to them and we all face our own consequences, but hiding our faith for fear of offense is just fear, which isn’t faith at all.