Did you hear about the fracas over a college assignment in Florida?

In a course on intercultural communication, a professor at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, required students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, place it on the floor and step on it.  One student refused and suffered the consequences.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Forbes:   “FAU released a statement over the weekend saying that “no students were forced to take part in the exercise; the instructor told all of the students in the class that they could choose whether or not to participate,” and that “no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.”  But the latter may be true only in a technical sense. Fox News reported that in a letter from an associate dean, Rotela was charged with “an alleged violation of the student code of conduct, acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct which threaten the health, safety or welfare of any person” and ordered not to return to class.  Thankfully, public exposure seems to have brought FAU to its senses. The university has reportedly apologized and dropped all charges against [the student].”

Our society seems to be polarizing.  Efforts to suppress expressions of faith, especially in public, are increasing.  What should believers do when confronted with such a situation?

Violence is not the answer.  Although adherents of some religions may stage riots and threaten to kill the perpetrators of insults, God desires something else.  Jesus said to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).

But neither does God want acquiescence.  Jesus told his followers,

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”  Luke 12:11-12.

When Peter was called before the Jewish Ruling Council which ordered him not to preach about Jesus, he refused.

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”  Acts 5:29

Jesus said such things would happen (Matthew 10).  The Apostle Peter told the followers of Jesus not to be surprised when such things happen (1 Peter 4:12).  So don’t be caught off guard, but be prepared.  Pray that God will give you the wisdom, courage and strength to do what He desires.

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