When persecution or injustice comes your way, how do you decide whether to turn the other cheek or to take a stand?

If you have come to this post because of Israel Folau, then read on. But this post and podcast ask the more broad question. How do we as Christian men decide to flee from or head towards a fight? Read on if you want to know the answer.

The scriptures are filled with perspectives that can be interpreted as contradictions. Not least when we look at the stories of the lives of Biblical figures and see what they chose to do under pressure. Sometimes they stood tall and fought, sometimes with success and sometimes not. At other times they ran, sometimes successfully and sometimes with bad consequences.

Hindsight is very helpful — in hindsight. But when faced with a decision today, how can you and I know when to stand up and fight, or whether the will of God is for us to walk away?

This is a decision that we all have to make at some point, and — with the path society is on — it is one that is becoming more common for us as our Christian values and doctrine become less and less tolerated in public.

Israel Folau Takes Up The Battle

At the time of writing, that is the battle that Israel Folau and his wife Maria Folau are fighting.

israel folau
Israel Folau. CREDIT: EPA

Israel Folau was sacked from his $4m rugby union contract for sharing a social media post that paraphrased the Bible, and in doing so included ideas that are not politically correct, and deemed offensive to some people. Israel Folau had been a professional sportsman since he was 18. Now 30 years old, it was all he knew as a career. In his prime, with a World Cup coming up, he was effectively given a life ban from his sport and profession.

Battle Lines are Drawn

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of where employee-employer boundaries should be for public discourse in our own time. Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights like the USA does, so Australia’s courts will decide on where that line is.

But any fair-minded person would see that such a punishment for Israel Folau is highly disproportionate to the possible offence caused by his post. At least, that’s the way Israel Folau sees it as do millions of Australians.

As proof of that support, Israel Folau has been raising public funds for his legal battle with Rugby Australia. Incredibly, more than 20,000 Australians have donated over $2 million in less than 48 hours to the cause.

It appears that this incredible support is further emboldening Israel Folau to take up the fight with his ex-employer. Time will tell whether from this case Australia gets an answer to the question — can a person remain free to express their religious views in public that may be contrary to those of their employer?

How To Decide Whether To Fight

Israel Folau appears to have decided to fight – at this stage anyway.

But what about you and me?

How do we decide whether to fight or to flee in the battles we face?

Is it for justice we seek? Perhaps for revenge? Maybe it is taking up the fight on behalf of others? Do you think you can second guess what Jesus would do and use that to justice your point of view?

William Wilberforce. source: Wikipedia

Like Israel Folau, William Wilberforce was a deeply religious man who stood by his convictions. When Wilberforce took up the battle in the British Parliament to end the slave trade, it was a long and costly battle that we now look back on with gratitude.

But at the time, the majority were against his decision to stand and fight. What would have happened if he had given in to the pressure and walked away?

So to fight or to flee. It is not always straightforward to know.

So how do we know whether to fight or to flee?

5 Principles That Will Help You Decide

In this episode of Real Talk 4 Real Men, Chris and Guy flesh out 5 ideas (maybe even ‘principles’) “on the fly” that will help you decide to fight or flee.

Guy also highlights a time when he was lawyered up and ready to fight to the last, but, in the end, decided to walk away — even though he still believed the fight was just.

You can stream the episode below:

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Originally published on RealMen24/7. Image by Laurent SELLES on Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author: Guy Mullon and Chris Field

Chris Field and Guy Mullon team up as the podcast bros to bring you Real Talk 4 Real Men. It is a show where they tackle the real issues faced by men in today's world. With guests or just with the two of them, you will always be guaranteed to get challenged and encouraged and to get it real across the life topics of business, family, faith and a man's own well-being. You can find Chris' blog here and find his YouTube channel here.

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