Fran’s company is requiring employees to attend a training on company policies about LGBTQ employees to make certain they are not discriminated against. Fran and her friend Louise, fellow believers, have differing views as to whether they should refuse to attend this training and take a strong stand for their beliefs, or whether that would be regarded as unkind and un-Christlike.

I’m not suggesting that I have the answer to these many issues we face in our post-Christian America, but here are some thoughts to consider. First remember what Jesus said from Mark 8:38: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Jesus did not promise popularity for us when we become his disciples. In fact, he promised the opposite. He called his generation—his culture—an “adulterous and sinful” one, so what we face is not unique. It’s always been true that the world is not a friend to Jesus.

The Bible’s teaching on contested issues today, such as abortion, sexuality, or any of our beliefs, is admittedly not always popular. It wasn’t popular in New Testament times either, and the early church had to repeatedly decide if they would “follow Jesus, no turning back” or not. So, if being popular is our goal, we will be swept up into a politically correct world and are likely to compromise in order to be accepted and liked.

Jesus showed no inclination to be politically correct in his day, did he? He was at odds against the religious leaders of his people and said so in direct and very confrontational words. They did not like him, that’s for sure. On the other hand, he showed such incredible grace and love to the worst in their society and was never reluctant to associate with them, eat with them, talk to them, heal them.

Someone has said that we must not allow our counter-cultural posture to become anti-cultural. That’s the challenge we face. As Christians, we are to be compelled by the love of Christ to extend kindness and friendship to those who disagree with us.

Jesus prayed for us that we would be in this world but not of this world. And as Fran and Louise face this hypothetical decision about the new policies of their company, they need to find that balance and know how Jesus is leading them in this moment.