But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Dan. 1:8)

FALL IS THE TIME for electioneering, and I have to be honest with you: I can’t stand it! I’ve long since quit watching television (except when my beloved Indianapolis Colts play) because of the incessantly negative political ads. I’m about to sign off from social media for the same reason. Who made the rule that being right gives you permission to be rude?

This is one of the things I love about Daniel and his companions: They were simultaneously right and polite, both personally resolved and appropriately submissive to legitimate authority. They had made up their minds to do God’s will—no matter what. Rather than start a social media campaign to trash talk the king (or whatever the equivalent might have been in their day), they first asked permission to break the offending rule. They were prepared to defy the order if necessary, but they were willing to go through proper channels first.

We live in a time when, like Daniel, we must break from the prevailing culture in order to walk in step with God. It’s tempting to take our desire for righteousness as a license to denounce, defy, or vilify those who disagree. Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18). Being right is no reason to be offensive. Let’s be resolved and respectful.

Resolve to speak positive words today.

Heather Gemmen Wilson is the author of the Global Warning Series (WPH), a fiction series for preteens, and she inspires young minds as a professor of creative writing.

© 2017 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.