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Compromise - What Voice are You Listening To?
Integrity is like a pair of stretchy pants... it's impossible to hide the truth of who you really are underneath.
Cybil....Cybil...can Cybil come out now? Who else is there with you Cybil? (from Cybil - Dr. Wilbur speaks to one of Cybil's multiple personalities in the 1976 movie starring Sally Field)
Ever suspect you're borderline schizo? Home-Mom, School-Mom, Work-Mom, Wife-Mom, Church-Mom, Bad-Hair-Day-Mom, Gained-Five-Pounds-from-Who-Knows-Where-and-My-Pants-Won't-Zip-Mom, Exasperated-at-the-Store-Clerk-Mom. Sometimes I wonder who I am. I feel like I display a whole different personality depending on where I am and who or what I'm dealing with. Every day I'm bombarded with the challenge of walking out a consistent testimony to my faith in Christ by the desire to compromise to the benefit of my circumstances changing hats to fit the climate of the situation. And behind closed doors when it's just me and the house, that's where the real challenge begins.
"They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths." Psalm 119:3 Compromise always means someone had to divert from their original intened path. Not all compromise is bad; compromises can be necessary if it means coming to a mutually beneficial decision. But what happens when compromise is really a decision that has been clouded by deception? In 1985, a Boeing 747 Japan Airlines jumbo jet crashed killing 520 passengers. A 556-page report blamed the accident on a rupture in the rear pressure bulkhead on which it said Boeing made faulty repairs in 1978. The report stated that the bulkhead developed cracks that weakened it so it could not contain the pressurized air in the cabin.The rapid release of pressurized air into the plane's tail section compromised the structural integrity and destroyed its vertical tail fin and all four hydraulic systems--components vital to controlling the plane. The Boeing Co., in a statement released in Tokyo, said it agreed with the report's finding that the accident was caused by incorrect work by Boeing technicians in 1978.
We play a mental dialogue every day with choices to be made. I'm going to work out later so I can have the extra biscuit this morning. If I don't tell my husband what happened he won't know and I'll avoid the argument later. It's just lunch with a "friend", there's no harm in that. Well, okay honey. You can have that second cookie even though you didn't pick up your toys yet. You can stop crying now. I'll pick them up for you. My boss won't know that I'm not really sick. Leaving out part of the truth isn't lying. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
Verse 5-7 "Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with your commands. When I learn your righteous ways, I will thank you by living as I should!"
The Bible tells us that a thought can give birth to sin. It also warns that lusting in your heart is the same as acting on that lustful desire. Since being a displaced worker for almost five months now (okay, unemployed), I've had a lot of time on my hands to do some much needed spucing up around the house. I've emmersed myself in painting, refinishing, rearranging, etc. But in the process, I've neglected basic housekeeping. My house, in its state of repair, is in a state of disgrace. There is dust everywhere. My windows are dirty and we won't even discuss the inside of the fridge. And for once, my 17-year old son's room is cleaner than his sister's. HGTV blares in the background all day (it's on now as I write this) and I'm constantly running back and forth to see this home improvement project and that. My mind constantly rambles with what I could do to this wall, this room, that window. Can I knock down that wall. What if we expose the chimney. A fireplace would be so nice on that wall. How about a cabinet over the stove? What if I put in a door here? I bombard my poor husband with details of "honey let's do" this every day. Without the means to accomplish any of it the pressure I put on him to provide for my desire is unforgiveable. I've come to a place where I cannot detatch my mind from the reality of my station in life and learn to make simple changes and be content with what I've already accomplished. I'm not actually spending any money, but in my mind I'm consumed with the desire to have more - to have the TV house. Sometimes it's all I think about and my mind becomes a never ending HGTV episode keeping me from resting, literally and figuratively. My compromise with evil has allowed me to think it's harmless to keep thinking about how to improve my home since I'm not actually spending the money. The result is that I can't shut off and every corner of my house demands my attention as I think about how to make it better.
What demands your attention? Where are you divided? Are you sweet to the ladies at church and bark at the clerk who short-changed you? Do you sweet-talk your husband only when you want something? Are you the yes-man at work who stabs your boss in the back metaphorically to every co-worker willing to listen? Are you fixated on the desire to look perfect on the outside but forget to work on the inside first? True integrity is a reflection of your heart and you can't hide it - like stretchy pants. Even if you wear a girdle underneath, those extra 35 pounds are going to show. You can put a belt on a beach ball but it's still a beach ball. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about weight issues. I'm 40 pounds overweight so believe me, I'm not about to start pointing fingers! What it comes down to living on the outside who you are on the inside. Verse one says people who follow the law of the Lord are people of integrity who live happy lives. I don't think God means to say that you won't have sadness or disaster in your life. But following His ways in every aspect of your life from what you focus you mind on to how to interact with people takes the compromise out of trying to satisfy two masters. As a mom and a wife, trying to keep both sides happy makes me weary and unhappy. Try to serve and please God and yourself at the same time is as Solomon would say, vanity, meaningless. Like stretchy pants with a girgle.
Verse 29 says "Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law." Lying to myself, that's really compromising with the evil one. You know the saying that if you say something enough times it becomes true to you. You can't compromise with God. There's only One Way, One Truth, One Life. He won't bargain with you or give in to you. You have to give in to Him. Your heart will reveal His Truth in your spirit if you listen to it. Most times, I know the right thing to do. But then that internal dialogue starts up and should be a red flag that there's someone else in there trying to convince me that I can deal with the situation better than God can. The internal conflict destroys real happiness that can only come from faithfully following His way for us. It comes in the small things like letting go of obsessing over home improvement to the bigger moral delimmas that really challenge our integrity. God's way means freedom. He gave us free will to choose.
"I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments." Psalm 119:45 and 56 "This is my happy way of life: obeying your commandments." We naturally chafe at rules, want to rebel against them. Teenagers hate curfews and chores and will do almost anything to avoid them. Our natural inclination is to go our own way. To make personal compromises that seem safe and harmless. Yet the moment we start to compromise, the rationalizing in our head goes full tilt. Remember the old saying if you say it enough it becomes true. That's the deceptive nature of compromise. You tell yourself over and over again that it's okay, it's a good decision, that you had a right to act that way. Or worse, like I've done and continue to fall back on, you begin an elaborate internal (or external) dialogue acting out what will be said or done in order to justify it, make it sound good. Rehearse it enough until you believe it to be the right way. For me, I know that once I start that process, I am heading down a slippery slope. If I don't nip it in the bud right there, it will work its way right in to my heart and give birth to a very wrong action. In my marriage, that almost always means a conflict with my husband that results in escalating tempers and words that should have never been said. Once my words come out without God's Spirit behind them, it's a fateful course teetering on a rocky cliff. If I planned it, God's probably not in it. God doesn't plan. People plan. If I try to plan out this blog instead of letting God write it, it's going to be meaningless rambling. The moment I insert God in to the process, it becomes impactful. Trying to be anything other than who God created us to be is like trying to be poor Cybil. It must have been very noisy in her head to hold all those personalities whose job it was to help her sort out and deal with all the intricacies of her life resulting from an abusive childhood. She has a personality for every situation it seems and each one had the perfect way of dealing with things. Once Cybil learned to bring all those parts of herself in to one Cybil and just be Cybil, she was on the road to healing. It took a patient and wise Dr. Wilbur to listen to her and walk with her though. We're all a mess of personalities we pull out to deal with everything life throws at us. I'm the DIY nut to deal with the insanity of unemployment. Maybe you're a person who can't say no for fear of rejection so you gain a reputation of being dependable and the one to call in a crisis. But on the inside, you're a disaster in need of a crisis intervention of your own, worn out and burned out from helping everone at the expense of your own health.
Thankfully, we have a Dr. Wilbur. His name is Jesus Christ and He's the one who paid the price so we could be free from the yoke of sin's demand on our lives. He bought our freedom with His blood and offers a heart that will help us separate out everything that isn't Him and come to the heart of who we really are. He will speak lovingly and tenderly in to our hearts providing a way through every mess life throws at us. And then, as we ponder the direction of our lives, when we turn to follow God's will, things have a way of working out. That's when true freedom begins and compromise ends.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can. There is nothing you can do to buy your way to salvation. No deed you can perform, no rule you must follow first. Come as you are. Christ came to us as God in the form of a man to walk with us, cry with us, teach us, and show us the Way to redemption. He only asked that we believe in Him to be the promised Savior who would wash away our sins. Jesus said, "I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." John 5:24
To know God and be eternally saved ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, follow these steps (taken from Assemblies of God Evangel):
A. ADMIT you are a sinner. "There is no one righteous, not even one...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:10, 23
Ask God's forgiveness and repent of your sins. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
B. BELIEVE in Jesus (put your trust in Him) as your only hope of salvation. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Become a child of God by asking Christ to come in to your heart. "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
C. CONFESS that Jesus in your Lord. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Pray a prayer from your heart for salvation.
"Father, in the Name of Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner. Nothing I do on my own can ever pay the price for my sins. Only the blood of Jesus, shed for my sins on the cross forever paid the price. Father, I ask for your forgiveness of my sins in the Name of Jesus. I believe and I accept that Jesus is the only hope for my salvation. I confess and believe that He is the Son of God and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior; that He died on the cross to pay for my sins; that He rose on the third day and is alive today seated at your right hand forever. Jesus, at this time I ask you to come in to my heart and be the Lord of my life. I ask you to guide my steps and lead my life in Your Truth in Jesus Name. Amen"
If you prayed this prayer, I encourage you to seek a local pastor who will continue to support you in your journey of faith in Christ. I'd love you hear from you as well.