When should Christians stand up for their rights, and when should they just accept a bad situation and not make a fuss about it? Some people in our homeowners' association want to spend money in a way we think may be illegal, but we hate to get the reputation of being troublemakers. — Mrs. E.N.
It isn't always easy to know what to do when we find ourselves in conflict with other people, and we always need to pray for wisdom in such situations. While God wants us to stand for what is just and right, the Bible also tells us to "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12). Admittedly it's hard sometimes to keep all these in balance.
However, when you are being urged to do something illegal, then you have a clear responsibility to stand for what is right—both as a Christian and as a good citizen. On one occasion Paul, a Roman citizen, demanded an apology from the authorities because they had acted against Roman law by allowing him to be beaten and imprisoned (see Acts 16:22-40). He knew the law should be upheld.
Make sure of your facts in this situation, and then encourage others to join you in doing what is right. Come up with an alternate proposal also, if that is appropriate; it will help dispel the idea that you are just a negative or difficult person.
In addition, ask God to help you show Christ's love to your neighbors, including those who might disagree with you. They need Christ as much as anyone else, and God has given you an opportunity to be a witness to His transforming power. The Bible says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all" (Philippians 4:5).