Monday, January 21, 2013

Questions for 2013--The standoff between Obama and Congress: Is compromise a righteous thing?


Who blinks first? Who caves? Is bending the will the only way to survive?
I try not to get too involved in politics, but I do have strong views about the huge problems our nation faces and they’re not going away.
But something worries me even more—the way Christians are compromising convictions, morality and even doctrine.
I heard this week that a well-known Christian missions organization is compromising with Islam in their belief about the divinity of Jesus Christ. (Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet, but don’t believe He was God.)
Although some Christian business owners are refusing to pay for insurance that includes abortion, others are doing it without a squeak just like many so-called Christians watched silently as Jews were herded off to death camps.
But if my life would have been in danger, I might have done the same thing. I can’t judge the other person because I’m not sinless like God is. I can’t take care of the other person’s spiritual problems, either; my hands are full with my own.
There is value in being older and able to look back at temptations to compromise, and being able to rejoice because I “resisted the devil” as the scriptures say, and refused to bend.
After working out in the world I realized anyone who is willing can have an adulterous affair. All it takes is two people who are stupid enough to ignore that it can destroy your reputation, your career, your marriage, your family, your relationship with God and your eternal future.
The same thing is true with bending your will about staying away from mind-altering drugs and alcohol. These usually don’t affect a person as quickly as adultery, but they have the potential to do all of the above in the long run. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 20:2 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Satan is said to walk about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) so we should be vigilant because the enemy of our soul has all sorts of devious things to try to make us compromise our faith—some not evil in themselves. Or he attacks with things we might not recognize as evil such as gossip or bitterness.
My Janette Oke calendar recently had this quote from her book, Once Upon a Summer: “Wrapping ourselves in bitterness is like using a blanket of poison ivy; it’s warm at first but painful in the end.”
All sin is like that. I’m reminded of this admonition to the Roman church: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans12:2 NIV).
I think that’s good guidance for 2013.