A few weeks ago, Jamie woke up with a head cold. Running a low-grade fever, he decided to settle in a comfy chair and get some rest while watching a Captain America marathon. Being busy with other things, I missed the first two movies. But after dinner and dishes, I sat down with him to watch the third: Captain America: Civil War. (Honestly, this is the only one I like because I am a fan of Tony Stark/Ironman.) Even though I’ve seen the movie many times before, this time the words that were spoken at Peggy’s funeral stood out to me. For those of you who haven’t seen it, during the eulogy for her Aunt Peggy, Sharon recalled asking her aunt how she succeeded in her career when no one wanted her, as a woman, to have the job. The words that stuck with me were from her Aunt's response:
Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move'.
Later, I googled her answer and pasted it on my phone. As I pondered the words over the next few days, they planted a resolve inside my spirit as they created a mental picture of Paul’s command to “stand firm in the faith.”
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Philippians 4:1) Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27) Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
This is how, we, as followers of Christ, can fulfill our duty to live our calling in a world that continually pressures us to compromise and give up our beliefs in an effort to be tolerant. It’s how we respond when we are told that we are wrong to believe that there is only one way to have a relationship with God and gain eternal life in Heaven—through belief in Jesus. It’s should be our response when we are told we are fools for believing the stories in the Bible really happened and that we are still called to obey the truth of God's Word. It’s how we respond when we are called bigots and prejudice because we won’t compromise with sin for the sake of tolerance. When we face persecution…. ....when we are called legalistic for holding to Biblical truth …even when others who call themselves Christians try to mold truth to their own comfort…. …we need to plant ourselves like a tree and say, “I will stand firm” We need to hold to the absolutes of our faith and refuse to be shaken no matter what comes against us. This is how we emulate the lives of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo who said, “No matter what, I will not bow.” (Daniel 3) It’s how we follow the example of Peter and John who said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) It’s how we follow the example of Daniel who continued to faithfully follow God even if it meant being thrown into a lion’s den. (Daniel 6) They calmly planted themselves like a tree and said: “This is what I believe”. Then they stood firm. Today I ask you, “Do you have this same resolve?” Are there absolutes in your life that you will not compromise? Obviously, I’m not saying we should be unbending for the sake of an argument. However, I deeply believe that all of us as followers of Christ need to define our absolutes—the things we believe that do not change with the culture, with the times, or with the popular call for tolerance. In a world that says that all roads lead to heaven, there is no right or wrong, and disagreeing with these lies is intolerance, we need to be prepared to stand firm.
“Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move’."