Folau breaks down as D-Day looms
IN THE first sign of the enormous emotional toll his employment battle has taken, Israel Folau broke down in tears delivering an Easter Sunday sermon to fellow churchgoers.
Speaking about how to react when your employer asks you to compromise your own faith, Folau cited an example in the Bible of how three men stood up for their beliefs under the threat of death.
The Wallabies star began crying while delivering the sermon, prompting a fellow worshipper to bring him tissues, highlighting the distress Folau has been feeling as he faces a fight for his $4 million contract at a code of conduct hearing on Saturday.
"At some stage, each and every one of us will face our own fiery furnace - and some of us may have already faced that," Folau said at his Truth Of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney on April 21.
"In your workforce, if they're telling you something that will compromise your faith, this is a test of faith in which you're going to be put in a challenge, and the question is 'What are you going to do?'
"With these guys, they were challenged and it was a matter of life and death, physical death. But they understood their treasures were stored up in heaven, not here on Earth.
"As the scriptures say, don't set your mind on things below, but set it on things above.
"We all know as born again believers in Christ, that everything we have here is all temporary.
"And it says in the word, 'For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
At that point, Folau stopped, and began to wipe tears from his eyes.
He attempted to continue but the words caught in his throat.
"This life that we live in is pretty hard," Folau continued.
"The God of this world, Satan, has deceived many. But the one that lives inside us is all powerful. He can deliver us from anything.
"I encourage us all to store our treasures up in heaven, where it all counts.
"Just because we're believers in Christ, does not mean we're not prone to the temptation or challenges that we're going through.
"There's nothing special that would keep us from that - in actual fact, we probably go through more challenges than anything else.
"We're going to be hated by the world, persecuted by the world."
It is a difficult video to watch, but poignantly displays the weight Folau is carrying for holding firm in his faith.
He feels persecuted for expressing his Christian beliefs, and clearly sees his predicament as a "furnace" for spreading Biblical scripture.
However, Rugby Australia had formally warned him of posting anything on social media that could be deemed as homophobic last year, and when he did so again on April 10, they immediately moved to terminate his four-year deal due to vilifying people and bringing the game into disrepute.
When RA re-signed Folau, they also attempted to add social media clauses, but he refused because he'd already signed the contract.
However, officials believe Folau's actions still constitute a high-level code of conduct breach and RA's legal team will use his social media posts and formal warning letter in their case.
Folau's team will argue the posts were not his own words, but that he was merely quoting the Bible.