Letter: Peaceful path first choice for Christians

From: Patricia M. Tharp


This is in response to a letter asking why Christians don’t just do like the three men thrown in a fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. (They did not obey the king’s command to worship an idol.) The writer was implying Christians should disobey the law and trust God to deliver them.

There are alternative actions given in the Bible, examples of steps a servant of God can take when laws of man are contrary to God’s law. In the same book, Daniel petitioned the authority over him when the king’s mandatory diet violated his conscience. (God’s law included clean and unclean foods.) When the authority was concerned that those following the Jewish diet would look weaker than those following the king’s diet, Daniel requested a trial period of 10 days and received it.

After the trial period Daniel and his friends looked better than their counterparts, and they were allowed to continue eating contrary to the king’s command. Waivers are given by our government for various laws. For example, certain businesses received waivers to the health care law. Conscientious objectors are given special consideration, different rules. An alternative action is to ask for a waiver.

Also in Daniel, the king had a dream and wanted wise men to tell what the dream was and what it meant. When they could not tell the dream, he ordered them all killed. Daniel requested time, and it was granted. He sought the dream and meaning from God. Special requests can be made.

Americans can use influence to change a law for everybody when it is a bad law. Christians can use influence to change a law that violates God’s law. How many nations in the history of the world have had or now have this freedom we have in the USA? In the book of Esther, Esther implored King Ahasuerus in tears that her people not be killed as the law stated; she was successful in getting a law made to counter the law to kill all Jews on the 13th day of the month of Adar. Jews could fight back on that day.

As Christians we can use whatever rights we have as citizens. In Acts 25, Paul appealed to the highest court in the land. He appealed to Caesar. God allows Christians to appeal to higher courts when necessary.

Daniel violated the law and was thrown in the lions’ den. In Acts 4, the apostles told the Jewish leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” A time might come when we have to disobey the law in order to obey God, and we need the courage necessary to disobey man’s law and obey God’s law. It is an occasion for God to be glorified. We are to fear God, not men. However, God expects us to take every possible peaceful path before we flat out refuse to obey the law.