Have you ever noticed that sometimes, we’re reluctant to defend our beliefs out of fear or embarrassment? How do you respond when you’re challenged to stand up for your beliefs or values? Graciously and confidently? Or, perhaps, more like the proverbial wet noodle?
Our values, and our faith, will be tested throughout our lives and in many arenas. For teens and young adults, it’s most pronounced in social settings and relationships. Next comes the college environment when we meet people (and professors!) with different perspectives and often openly hostile views of our beliefs. It can also occur in our careers as business pressures bring about ethical challenges.
And, for Christians, our greatest challenges are when we may pay a price for holding our beliefs. It comes with the territory—always has and always will.
What to do? Here are some helpful tips for when your faith is challenged:
- Be prepared to share why you believe what you believe with confidence, gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). In I’m Not Ashamed, Rachel Scott does this brilliantly when she shares her faith in class. You don’t want to miss that scene! Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful apologetics resources out there to build your case.
- Know with confidence your right to your opinion. Respectfully agree to disagree if the other party continues to pressure and disrespect your views. Take Colossians 4:5-6 to heart.
- Keep a list of your “non-negotiable” values. Remember, you need to know them before you can stand up for them! And, by all means, steer clear of destructive people who pressure you to compromise them. It’s their loss, not yours, and it’s not up to you to change them.
- Don’t feel pressured to have all the answers. Field their questions and offer to circle back and continue the dialogue. Remember, they don’t have all the answers either! And, while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to ask them to share and support their views. It can lead to wonderful conversations, deepen your faith, and potentially be an instrumental catalyst for them.
- Above all, remember Whom you are representing.
When you see I’m Not Ashamed, take special note of how Rachel’s faith, and her willingness to profess it, is strengthened over the course of her life. She’s a great example for all of us. Being able to stand up for our beliefs, values, and opinions with conviction and respect will serve you well in life. I wish you Godspeed as you put this into practice.
Dennis J. Trittin is the President and CEO of LifeSmart Publishing, LLC and the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead; and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Learn more at http://www.dennistrittin.com.