There’s a scripture in the book of Song of Solomon that says,
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:15
Just a brief sidenote regarding the book of Song of Solomon: There are a couple ways one can interpret Song of Solomon. First, literally, it is a book about the deep and intimate relationship between a husband and a wife, about the many facets of the romantic love shared between a man and his wife. In the interest of full disclosure, it is not for children’s bible story reading. It is beautiful and tasteful but also very sensuous in parts. It is a blessing to our marriages that God gave us this book, but y’all don’t pull this one out with your young children unless you want to answer some hard questions. Second, allegorically, it is seen as representative of the love of God for His children. I actually believe both interpretations are correct to some extent. I believe very much it was written to be taken a face value, a literal and beautiful testament to what God intended marriage between a man and a woman to be, but I think it also has, at least in part, a deeper meaning as an illustration of how much God loves and pursues His children.
Which brings me back around to Song of Solomon 2:15. I was cooking supper last night and thinking about compromise. I’m going to be real honest here, and I’m sure it’s going to ruffle some feathers. Won’t be the first time or the last. So before I go any further I’d like to point you back to what I wrote, almost three years ago, entitled Uncompromising Beliefs . . . nothing has changed. These beliefs still hold true, but because I push back against certain people, I’ve been accused of not holding these beliefs or of supporting the “other side”, if you will. That is categorically not true, and not supporting a certain person does not automatically mean one supports the other side. Choosing to not endorse or accept a certain person does not mean I suddenly don’t hold to the truths of the bible. Back to last night . . . I was thinking about compromise, in particular because I want to be totally transparent here, compromise within the political arena (although, this is applicable in pretty much every area of our lives and our culture). How, so often, when faced with two major candidates for an office, we’ll look at them and say something to the effect of, “Well I’m certainly not voting for ______ so instead I have to vote for _______ because he/she is the lesser of two evils.” And I wondered how did we get to this point? How did we get to the point of not only picking but endorsing, sometimes wholeheartedly, the lesser of two evils?
And in my mind I heard these words, “Beware of the little foxes . . .” . In Song of Solomon the author is referring to the little things that sneak into our marriages. The “little” irritations, flirtations, compromises that will poison the vine, and eventually, those “little” things will lead to bigger things that will destroy a marriage. But the broader implications of this verse are not lost on me. Because the truth of this is applicable to almost every area of life.
How did we get here?
One small compromise at a time.
One excuse followed by another followed by another . . .
Measuring the sins of one against the sins of another instead of looking at all of our sins against the Word of God and saying, emphatically, none of it is okay.
Refusal to stand up against wrong within our own ranks (speaking as a conservative Christian) because it makes others really angry.
“I have no choice . . .”
“If I don’t accept ______ then I’m choosing ______.”
Seeing only two choices in front of us and feeling as if we must pick between those two choices and only those two choices.
I am just as guilty as anyone. I’ve justified, glorified, made excuses with the best of them. But I’m slowly beginning to realize that refusal to stand up in the short term, continually conceding and never speaking out, because I really don’t like being hated, has only led to allowing in those little foxes, those tiny compromises, that poison the vine and lead to larger overall destruction.
It didn’t start with me or honestly, anyone reading this. It’s been a slow fade in the moral fiber of our nation for decades, not only in politics, but in all areas of life. We see it in allowing progressive theology into our churches. We’ve become so accustomed to it that we often don’t even realize when we’re pedaling progressive or new age ideologies in our lessons and teachings. We’ve held men up above the actual Word of God. We’ve failed to go back to the Bible and stand fast on what it says.
As I was pondering all of this, I couldn’t help but think we suffer in the short term or we suffer in the long term. We suffer for standing up and refusing to compromise now, or our children will suffer for our comprises in the future.
Here’s what I’ll say, I’ve already said it, my beliefs haven’t changed. If you’re going to label me, it’s still going to be the label “highly conservative, Christian”. That hasn’t changed because I still believe the bible is the final authority. However, I also refuse to look within my own self and community and not recognize where we get it wrong. Where we aren’t standing on God’s Word. Where we are choosing to compromise because I think it goes back to the plank in the eye in Matthew 7. Sin is sin, and I can’t look at the sin of another and say, “Well mine’s not so bad so . . .”. No, as a follower of Christ, I need to deal with my sin first. Not excuse it. Deal with it. There’s a meme floating around that says something like, “If Paul was alive right now the church in America would be getting some letters.” It makes me laugh because it’s true. But the reality is, we already have a treasure trove of letters. Paul’s letters are just as applicable to us in America, today, as they were to the early church 2000(ish) years ago.
I highly value my rights as a citizen of this great nation, but I hold fast to the belief that God is the God of, not only our nation, but our world, our universe, and beyond. I love our nation, but I love God more. The bible does not say “For God so loved the United States of America” it says “For God so love the world” (John 3:16). I have a responsibility to spread the truth of God’s word both within our nation’s borders and throughout the world. The truth is the answers aren’t always clear here on this earth, but I’ll tell you this, it’s not just as simple as picking the lesser of two evils or the person or policies that will make my own personal life easier or more comfortable. It’s about standing up for the truth of God’s Word in every arena, even when it’s going to make others, including those in our own circles, angry . . . even if and when it means we’re going to suffer for what’s right. There is darkness, but there is also light. So rather than telling you what I don’t support and believe, I’ll tell you what and Who I do, and you can take it from there.
I’ll wrap it up with this verse which has become a prayer for me. I pray this for my own heart and mind, that I will not walk around naive and blindly trusting because it’s easier, but that God will show me truth in every situation. That I will have the courage and boldness to stand for that truth when it is revealed. But I also pray this on a much larger scale, for my friends and family, for our local communities, our nation, and our world. That just because someone has a platform or sounds “smart” does not mean that we automatically take what they are saying at face value, but that we take the time to really lean in to what is true, right, and holy. That followers of Christ will see where we are deceived and misled and be willing to stand on the truth even if it means suffering.
“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17