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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Standing on Principle

A life of conviction is one based on principles. Our principles define who we are and what we believe. When challenged, most will stand and defend those principles.

Today, there are those who are convinced they are “standing on principle “by refusing to listen to a differing view or opinion. Their contention seems to be, if you have different view or opinion, you are unprincipled and unenlightened. Therefore, your opinions and views do not deserve to be heard or considered.

This gives me reason to pause and ask, do you think a mindset like this one of principle or expedience? Clearly it is the latter.

We know this, because many times the principles being guarded are based on popular opinion and popular opinion shifts and changes with each new cause.

The idea, as a nation we are opposed to inequality and inequity, while promoting and accepting the genital mutilation of children and their destruction in the womb makes it hard to dispute my contention.

Ironically, issues like these point to how desperately many try and make an opinion a matter of principle. The anger and vitriol with which these views and opinions are being communicated proves my point.

The question is, can we stand on principle when even the most basic ones are being dismantled and discounted? It would appear a large percentage of people believe we cannot.

As a Christ Follower, I wonder where the people of God and the Church of Jesus Christ are in all this. Are we “standing on principle “or cowering in fear of offending someone?

Do the principles we claim to stand for apply to everyone or just to a select group?

Our silence in response to many of the things going on all around us provides a clear and deafening answer. The Church, intentionally or not, is giving the impression of acceptance of these things under the guise of love.

The hope is that loving people as they are and where they are will bring them to a saving grace that can only be found in Jesus. Though true, we must realize we cannot compromise and sacrifice biblical principles in the process.

Unfortunately, we see this playing out as cultural issues become the focus of the Church. The problem is the selective nature with which these issues are chosen points directly to a lack of principles.

This reeks of hypocrisy to the world.

Why would the Church choose to remain silent instead of “standing on principle”? I believe it is simply a matter of self-preservation, which points to a lack of faith.

Though we see this happening in the Church today, it is nothing new. In Jesus’ day, His growing popularity was a threat to the established order which ultimately led to His demise.

It was the initial response of His followers that point to a lack of principle.

You see, they were also concerned with self-preservation. We know this because, when He was taken to be interrogated and ultimately crucified. His followers scattered. They could not be found “standing on principles “for fear it would cost them their lives.

Fortunately for us, in the end, His Followers found the faith and conviction to die for the very principles they had ran from earlier.

What about today’s Church? Does our response to the basic principles we see eroding before our eyes point to a willingness to scatter or to stand?

I will not answer this for you, but one thing I know for sure is we too will soon find ourselves in the position of choosing to scatter or stand. The question is will we scatter for self-preservation or stand on principle as if our lives depend on it.

James 1:21-22,” Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”.

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