We don’t always realize the power of simple affirmations of truth.
I once wrote an article for a church newsletter entitled “No Compromise.” I’m pretty sure that it was an rip-off of Keith Green’s album by the same name, but it felt right. It was something a 26 year-old, arrogant, Christian leader would write. It was about my commitment to a high call. My commitment to obey God, to not sin, to be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and never bend to the demands of culture. Of course, I almost immediately proved that I could not live up to the words – though I’m sure I had a pretty good exterior. It was the inside that was messed up. Through a series of interesting “coincidences” a former mentor and youth pastor was led to drop me a note affirming my commitment but ending with some wise words – “If you do compromise, don’t forget the grace of God!” Wise words to an emerging leader because he knew I would fail and he wanted me to still know God loved and valued me. He knew it wasn’t about performance, but dependence.
I’ve not forgotten his words written almost thirty years ago. For some reason I often recall this simple note. I am still committed to the slogan – but far more aware of my weaknesses – and the kindness and grace of God! Sadly I have compromised – sometimes no one knew and sometimes it was very evident. In every case the grace of God has become far more real. I can only hope that I might have the same opportunity to speak long-lasting truth that will have long-lasting impact in someone’s life.