From Ptr. Rick Warren’s message, Before Every Blessing There’s Always A Testing (From 31:58), on how to make an appeal to authority when you are being asked to compromise your biblical convictions, this message is also applicable to when you just need to make any appeal.
- Develop a reputation/ track record for being responsible (Prov 22:29: If you do your job well, leaders will notice and you will serve before kings). People with great responsibility notice people who are responsible because they understand how important responsibility is. Christians should have the best reputation in the marketplace: best citizens, hardest workers, most trustworthy people, most consistent. Don’t be a slacker.
- Be humble, not belligerent. Attitude determines acceptance. Don’t demand. (Prov 25:6 When you stand before the king (leader/ authority), don’t try to impress him and pretend him to be important.) Threats never work. Be humble or you’ll stumble.
- Don’t be deceptive or manipulative. If you’ve got a case to make with your authority, you can’t lie about it. God does not honor dishonesty. If you lie, you are on your own without God’s defense. (2Cor 4:2 We reject all shameful and underhanded methods. We do not try to trick anyone and we do not distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know that.)
- Appeal to their goals and their interests. Start with what they want, not what you want. Don’t get your way by pressing people and creating wars over it.
- You must choose the right place, time, and words to appeal to the authority. a) Right Place: Always privately. Don’t confront them publicly; that just solidifies their opposition, makes them mad; they can’t lose face or back down. Go back humbly in a simple way privately. b) Right Time: Wait until they are relaxed, not hungry or tired. c)Right Words: Polite and pleasant. (Prov 16:21 A wise mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.) “I’m never persuasive when I’m abrasive.” You don’t build yourself up while tearing everybody else down. If you’ve got an arrow to shoot, dip it in honey first. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
- Trust God if they reject your appeal. Hold on to the promise of Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. There are bad leaders, bad laws in the world, bad policies, bad people but God says He can use this in your life if you trust Him.
When you feel alone when pressured to violate your convictions by conforming to authority or majority, 4 Things to Remember:
- I have Jesus with me. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” You may feel alone but you are not.
- I have the Holy Spirit in me. “Greater is He that is in you that is in the world.” You have an unfair advantage.
- I have the promises of God to me. Over 6,000 promises of God in the bible and you can claim those promises in difficult times.
- I have God’s family around me. I have brothers and sisters who are praying for me. (That’s why it’s important to be a member of a church and in a small group to support you when you are alone during trials.)