Recently, President Obama directed American public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex they identify with. The Obama administration says this is just a recommendation. But schools that don’t comply risk losing federal funding. It’s an optionless option.

I was furious. Transgenderism is a complex issue our nation is only just grappling with. It requires public discussion and debate in Congress. Solutions that work for all concerned need to be hammered out. Instead, Obama imposed his ideology on everyone. He facilitated minority tyranny.

Coincidentally, our church is watching a video series about ISIS and their persecution of Christians in Iraq. Christians can move away, convert to Islam, or risk bodily harm (including death). More optionless options.

Revelation 13 portrays a seven-headed beast that rules the earth. The beast is about domination. Anyone who doesn’t comply with its agenda is oppressed or executed.

As my head swam in these currents of thought, something bobbed to the surface. I could see Obama and ISIS as heads of the beast, so to speak. I’m not equating Obama’s transgender decree with the murderous regime of ISIS. But both manifest the spirit of the beast. One head dominates through policy and funding; the other through violence.  They are separated by ideology and geography.  But follow each head down its neck and you find them connected to the same body, expressing the same will to dominate.

Eventually, I took my fury to the Lord. Talking to the Lord helped me reach a few conclusions:

1) “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Love definitely wasn’t in my heart toward Obama so I decided to pray for him. God’s righteousness isn’t achieved by man’s anger (James 1:20). Obama clearly needs my prayers more than my anger.

2) “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Obama and his ilk are spiritually ignorant to the core (Eph. 4:18). How can I expect darkness to be light? How can I expect flesh to be spiritual? (John 3:6). Hand in hand with point 1, forgiveness is more potent than condemnation.

3) “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death” (Rev. 12:11). Throughout Revelation, the saints are dominated or killed by the devil and human governments. In chapter 5, John sees the slain Lamb on the throne of God. He is given power to reign because he was slaughtered.

The message to Christians in Revelation (and now) is this: Jesus’s suffering and death was His victory. His power was exercised through the weakness of the cross. The same is true of us who follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Rev. 14). If godless policies are imposed on us or if we pay the ultimate price for our faith, we conquer just as Jesus did. Meanwhile, the beast’s use of force and control is its undoing.

The willingness to turn the other cheek, to give up one’s rights–even to the point of death–is the power of Christ. When He rules within, neither policy threats nor death threats motivate us. This strips the beast of any leverage.  Embracing our death with Christ is the ultimate act of defiance against a world system that is the devil’s puppet (Rev. 12:3, 13:1).