Erica and Hayley, sisters, are complete opposites. While Erica is quite shy, Hayley is outgoing. Their mother, Anna, works very hard to make a living for them. But Hayley’s desire to “fit in” causes problems at times.
Hayley hates the idea of buying clothes from off-brand department stores. In fact, it’s pretty common for Hayley to demand to go to brand name stores. Trying to be fair to both daughters, Anna tells Hayley to put back some clothes for cheaper ones, so that Erica can also have some nice things. But Hayley presents her well-rehearsed reply: “But Mom! How do I get a decent education if I’m constantly harassed by other kids about my clothes,” Hayley says. “They help me avoid being bullied so I can do better at school!” When Anna continues to protest, Hayley makes her teary-eyed plea to her sister, “Please, Sis, you know how girls get?” Erica nods. You see, she has a skin condition, a pesky case of psoriasis. Erica knows what it’s like to not be like the rest. “Mom, we can get my stuff next week,” Erica says to her mother, who seems glad the issue is resolved.
As Anna and Erica move to another rack, Hayley is greeted by two girls from school, Sara and Amy. The clothes the two girls wear are like the ones Hayley has picked out. Hayley notices the girls staring over her shoulder, a disgusted look on their faces. Amy asks Haley, “Is that your mother and sister?” Hayley glances over her shoulder, seeing her mother’s disheveled hair and her sister’s ruddy skin. Hayley turns back to the girls, a weak smile on her face. “Of course not,” she says, her smile becoming a nervous grin.
We know the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus and even Jesus’ prediction of the event (Mark 14:27-31). How did Peter make this terrible mistake of rejecting the Son of God? What keeps us from standing up for Christ? It is the pursuit of worldly acceptance and the fear of persecution. The price for truth, as the prophets can attest, is great (see Hebrews 11:36-38). All of us know what persecution is. And we know the temptation that Hayley succumbed to—the same that Christ’s disciple Peter, was overcome by—the same that many in this world fall prey to: the sin of agreeability—the sin of denial.
“I agree with you, friend, boy/girlfriend, boss, teacher, mother, father, neighbor! You say faith is complacent! You say that Jesus is not the son of God, and you say it often, with so much fervor, passion, and many voices against all who disagree with you—that I am filled with fear of your revenge. I agree with silence, because I fear the social isolation, backlash and financial ruin, more than I cherish the mercies of God. I agree to deny the Lord to save the life I have today.”
We cannot continue to let the threats of the world derail us from doing God’s will and representing His Son. The penalty is too great to become an antichrist and be cut off from God (1 John 2:22, 23).
We know that fear is not given to us by God. He gives us power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear is the “faith” of Satan, teaching us that we can be overcome by the evil of this world rather than be equipped to endure and survive the world. It is “fear” as in timidity.
“I am scared to tell my neighbor the truth—the truth of Jesus—because I fear suffering for it!” Was it not Jesus who suffered for us, to the point that salvation is possible through him (Isaiah 53)?
Do not fall to the sin of agreeability, but remain strong in the Lord, putting him above all worldly acceptance (Matthew 10:37-39). The saints must stand for Christ, no matter who stands against us—even family, friend, coworker, etc. When we choose to stay silent as the world lies about God, we fail as Peter did when he denied the Son not once, but three times. When we refuse to acknowledge or identify with our Lord in exchange for acceptance/avoidance of suffering, we, just as Hayley did, bite the hand that feeds us! The liar speaks against the Son, and is called an “Anti-Christ”. Are we willing to regard the favor of the world by denying the Savior? It is our light that should shine before others. Through righteous deeds God is shown to them and glorified (Matthew 5:15-17). If we are to agree with someone, let us agree with Jesus. Let us be so agreeable that people know we are saints.