I knew what would happen. If I told her she was wrong, I’d be labeled the goody-goody. The holier-than-thou church girl. Might as well buy an orange shirt with the label “judgmental.” Because that’s what I’d be. Always and forever designated “intolerant.”
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 19:1-29
Key Verse: “I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.” Job 27:6
It’s downright I-think-my-heart-might-beat-out-of-my-chest scary to tell someone they’re wrong. To stand firm on Biblical truth. So instead we tend to compromise. Meet in the middle. Adjust God’s decrees just a little here and there so we don’t have to worry about it. But…
Compromise will always cost more than courage.
What if I told you the word compromise isn’t even in the Bible? Thought provoking isn’t it? God’s not interested in fifty-fifty. He refused to meet us halfway so he made himself THE way. He commanded we love him with our whole heart, not just half. In fact he told the church at Laodicea. And I paraphrase: The fact that you’re so halfhearted, neither hot nor cold, makes me want to spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:15) Yikes!
Yet somewhere along the way we’ve gotten the idea a little give and take is a good thing. A necessary fact of life. A practicality for living the best life. But is it?
Lot (Abraham’s nephew) thought so. He moved to the Jordan Valley because it was lush and green like the garden of God (Gen. 13:10). Yet the beauty of his surroundings didn’t captivate him for long. He ended up taking residence in the city. Maybe it looked exciting. Maybe he enjoyed the hustle and bustle. Maybe he saw promise of climbing the corporate ladder or political gain. Maybe like many of us he was chasing the perfect recipe for happiness. More money. A family. Success. No matter, to live among the wicked men of Sodom undoubtedly required some compromise. Some settling of values. Some give in God’s decrees.
So did it work? Did adjusting righteous standards to encompass unrighteous living lead to happiness? 2 Peter 2:8 says Lot’s righteous soul lived in torment day after day because of the lawless deeds he saw and heard. He was miserable! Could this be why so many Christians struggle with joy? Because they’ve made too many adjustments to God’s standards and settled too much? Psalm 119:2 says “Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart.” Oh LORD please “Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found” (Psalm 119:35, NLT).
Lot had surrounded himself with people who cared nothing for the LORD. And it caused him much heartache. I can’t even fathom his distress when the men of Sodom surrounded his home. Crudely demanding, “Release your guests so we can have sex with them!”(Gen. 19:5, NLT) Terrified Lot offered his virgin daughters as victims for their sexual satisfaction.
Um excuse me. How could he do that? I have no response except to say in order to protect his guests, he did what he’d always done with the people of Sodom, and compromised. There is danger in allowing even a little wiggle room to surround God’s commands. The more we do it the easier it gets. And before we know it we’ve gone too far.
Compromise will always cost more than courage. It not only cost Lot his home, his wife, his career. It cost him his integrity. At the urging of the angels he warned his sons-in-law; but they merely thought him jesting (v. 14). “Angels? Yeah sure Lot. Like any angels would visit you!” And in the end found himself in a cave with nothing but his two deceitful daughters (more on that next week).
Now if happiness and integrity aren’t incentive enough for you to stake a claim in God’s Word with undaunting determination. Let me give you a third one. This whole Sodom scenario happened again. But not in a Canaanite society as we might expect. In Israel. In a town called Gibeah; a town belonging to the Benjaminites; a tribe of God’s own people. Judges 19 records the horrific details.
A Levite was traveling through town with his concubine. A foreigner offered them shelter for the night. They washed their feet, ate, and drank. As they visited the men of Gibeah surrounded the home. Shouting, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him” (Judg. 19:22, NLT). Terrified the Levite forced his concubine outside it hopes of appeasing their threats. But this time there were no angels. The woman was used and abused “all night until morning.” When dawn broke she made it back to the doorstep and died.
Twice. The same awful scenario twice. Why? Because it’s not just a happen so. When God’s people compromise the eventual result is a society devoid of God. A society in which homosexuality becomes the norm and evil is the standard. Judges 21:25 says it was a time in which “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” But it didn’t happen overnight. It happened over time with a little adjustment here and a small deviation there. Until there was no truth left to stand upon.
So what do we do? We exhibit confidence in God’s ways. We speak up. We speak truth. Secure in the strength He gives to do what’s right. Let’s stop compromising. Let’s move forward in unswerving submission. It will not only bring joy. It will result in respect. And a people who know right from wrong.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
What Biblical standards is it popular for today’s society to compromise on?
In what areas have you made compromises, to either allow yourself some wiggle room, or avoid that awkward conversation with a friend?
What might compromise cost you? What might courage cost you?