A surgeon was very selective with the people he wanted to work with. It was the first day on the job for a young nurse and the surgeon decided to issue a test. As the young nurse assisted the surgeon during a procedure, she noticed a problem.
"You've only removed eleven sponges, doctor," she said to the surgeon. "We used twelve."
"I removed them all," the doctor declared. "We'll close the incision now."
"No," the nurse objected. "We used twelve sponges."
"I'll take full responsibility," the surgeon said grimly. "Suture!"
"You can't do that!" blazed the nurse. "Think of the patient."
The surgeon smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge, and said, "You'll do."
It can be difficult to stand up for what is right, especially when we meet resistance. For the young nurse, she was willing to risk disapproval and possibly even her job to stand up for what was right. Thankfully, she was working for a person who also valued integrity. It takes courage to expose ourselves and come under the heat of the spot light. In John 12:42-43, we see some people who weren’t willing to stand out, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”
Which do we love more, God’s approval or man’s? It feels really good when people like us, praise us, and agree with us. Many people are even willing to sacrifice their morals and ethics in order to lay low and run with the crowd. It can be scary to be disliked, made fun of, and disagreed with. It can be hard to stand up for honesty and integrity as Christians, especially when those around us do not.
Moses told Joshua before his death, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
People may dislike or disagree with us, but there is only one approval that really matters anyway, God’s. When we stand with God, God will stand with us. Therefore, no matter what other people may think, let’s be courageous Christians and pursue God’s approval above all others.