A freedom fighter led an army of men, all fighting against a dictatorship in their country. Because their goal was to see the dictatorship defeated, they were prepared for a long battle. Their families lived with them outside of what used to be their own society.
Unfortunately, provisions began to be stolen from within the camp and the leader advised the whole community that the person committing the crimes would be found, and pay the consequence with 40 lashes, unless they stopped immediately. For a couple of weeks things settled down but then provisions began to be stolen again. The leader ordered for the culprit to be found.
The second in command investigated the camp and found the culprit. Unbelievably, it was the leader’s own mother.
Now, the leader had a dilemma. He loved his mother. But he had told the community that the culprit would be whipped 40 times. If it were anyone else, he would carry out the punishment without question. But his own mother? He loved his mother. If she were whipped, it may kill her.
The consequence for the crime didn’t change just because the criminal was his mother. The truth was, she had committed a crime. Over and over. She knew the consequences. So, with great heaviness of heart he told his second-in-command to carry out the penalty. The 2-I-C took the old woman and tied her to a pole. The leader said after the count of three, begin. The 2-I-C counted loudly. One. Two. Three. As he raised his arm to bring down the whip on the old woman’s back, the leader stepped behind his mother, folded his body around hers and took the lashes that would have fallen across her back.
I heard this story through Everyday Evangelism. It so impacted me because I found myself thinking, what’s the leader going to do? Is he going to ask everyone if they'd allow him to show leniency?
The truth was, the penalty for the crime committed had to be upheld for the law to be just. The leader used himself to save his mother from the penalty of her sin in the same way that God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. Jesus died on the cross and was raised to life to pay the penalty for our sin, purchasing a place in heaven so we could live with Him forever. Such great love. Such amazing justice.
I’ve kept thinking of that story. Had the old woman felt so lacking she needed to steal? Would that justify what she had done? Had she thought she was exempt because she was the leader’s mother? If the leader didn’t whip his mother, would that be just? How could love be effective while compromising justice?
How often do we compromise the truth in order to suit ourselves?
We change, but God never changes. His Word remains the same no matter who, no matter what, no matter when in history. He is reliable and trustworthy. He cannot go against spiritual law because it's based on his righteousness. Any kind of sin is sin against God. And sin – wrong-doing of any kind – compromises righteousness, morality.
I think about the ways I have compromised in my life. If I really understand that the nature of God is love and justice, simultaneously, I understand that compromise can never be tolerated. But even if I must pay the consequences for bad decisions – sin I’ve committed – His love assures me that He will walk alongside me, through it. His justice, while something to be feared, is also something to be relied on.
I think how easily we can forfeit the truth for convenience, pleasure, preference, or even new decisions that are made in governance. We need to remember that God’s truth doesn’t waiver. He loves all people, and is inclusive of all people, based on His righteous holiness. He doesn’t include or exclude people based on the circumstances. The world is trying to say ‘do what’s right for you’ but then says, ‘what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me’. So, if I do what’s right for me but the truth for you is that I’m hurting you, that’s not justice, nor is it wisdom, nor is it love. It’s selfishness. The bible teaches, if I hurt you, I end up hurting myself.
The power of God’s love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) but it's still called sin. God’s law is lethal to the sinner – that’s why, even before He created the world, knowing humanity would fall into sin, He resolved to send Jesus to pay the penalty for our law-breaking. That’s called unmerited grace. God’s law is lethal – but His grace covers a multitude of sins.
Compromise is what is lethal to society. The stealing of provisions in the camp was a compromise that only benefitted one person, because it took away from others. Law applied with judicial grace is called mercy. Jesus is the giver of mercy, but we must realise how insidious compromise can be.
A book in the bible that illustrates God’s intimate love for us, says, ‘catch the little foxes that spoil the vineyard’ (Song of Solomon 2:15). Are we being alert to all the ‘little foxes’ of compromise ? If the little foxes aren’t caught, they can wreak havoc in the vineyard.
Galatians 4:1 says ‘each one should test their own actions… without comparing themselves to someone else…’ We’re listening to too many other voices today. One person says one thing, another group says another. Even churches are being swayed by cultural rhetoric. The idiocy of that should not be lost on wise and understanding hearts. We need to remember the infallibility of the bible and the reverential and fitting fear of God.
Galatians 6:7-8 (NLV)
Do not be fooled. You cannot fool God. A man will get back whatever he plants! If a man does things to please his sinful old self, his soul will be lost. If a man does things to please the Holy Spirit, he will have life that lasts forever.
Let’s not be tolerant of the compromises being cultivated in modern culture. Step back long enough to discern what is God’s truth in every circumstance. Don’t be drawn into sin if you want to remain under His grace.
1 Corinthians 1:25 (AMP)
[This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].
James 1:8 says a double-minded person is unstable in all he does.
Truth is an absolute. Can we imagine the truth of gravity changing? Can we imagine blood doesn’t flow from a living being? These are truths.
Compromise is an enemy of stability.