It Isn't What You Think
In the Bible, there’s a passage that used to bumfuzzle me. When I was much younger, I even wanted to ask my preacher about it. I didn’t because I didn’t want to seem, at best, a simple little dummy or, at worst, a Hell-bound little heathen. I’m certain I’m neither, so I just decided to figure it out for myself.
The passage basically says that it’s better to be cold or hot than to be lukewarm. To my young mind, I was certain the Bible had gotten it twisted. After all, wouldn’t it be better to be at least a little warm than to be altogether cold? Time and life experience have taught me that, OF COURSE, the Bible was right.
When I came home from the store this morning, one of our outside cats (Hannah – pictured above, showing off her beautiful markings) was standing in the middle of the driveway. Naturally, I had to wait (while finishing off my breakfast sandwich and black coffee from Burger King) as she decided which way she intended to go – toward her favorite patio chair on the carport or toward a sunny spot in the yard with her name on it. It didn’t take long (I timed it right around two bites and four sips) for her to realize her chair just didn’t look quite right without her.
Hannah, in the middle of the driveway, is like a lukewarm person. You almost want to yell, “Pick a side!” But I never yell at cats, so that’s out.
It sort of comes down to two things:
- If we’re right, we should always stand up for our beliefs. Head up, chest out, feet firm. Move us if you dare.
- If we’re wrong, we should always stand up for our beliefs. Head up, chest out, feet firm. Move us if you dare.
Someone once told me they “hated” certain men and women who go door to door with little books. Although I don’t personally agree with their literature, I have no ill-will toward them. In fact, many years ago I invited a few of these women into my living room for what turned out to be a very interesting conversation. When I told them I wasn’t interested in reading their little books, one of them (the lead, I presume) asked if I’d listen to her for a few minutes. I told her I would if she’d return the favor. We talked and debated for 45 minutes. The lead did all of their talking -with the younger woman looking back and forth between both of us. The older lady had a huge Russian-style hat on and at one point I told her that a certain point I was making was as obvious as the hat on her head. The younger woman burst out laughing. They retreated. My daughters applauded. I bowed.
I don’t hate these people. Far from it. In fact, can I let you in on a little secret? I admire their conviction, their determination, and.. yes… their bravery.
What if those of us who have strong convictions of our own…..
- Fighting child abuse
- Trying to end childhood diseases
- Protecting wildlife
- Believing that prayer, the Bible, and the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag should have NEVER been taken out of schools
….. were just as determined, passionate, and brave? What if we didn’t stand in the middle of the road – afraid to say what we really think (not giving two shakes about what people would think) but picked our side and defied an army to move us?! Then the noisy, misguided minority would never win another battle.
Don’t quote me on an school exam, but meekness is not the opposite of boldness. Middle-ness is. As Charles Krauthammer said, Middleness is the very enemy of the bold.
Below are some of my favorite quotes about standing up for what you believe in, whether it’s a political hot topic or a favorite patio chair.
When something important is going on, silence is a lie. – A.M. Rosenthal
Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. – Margaret Thatcher
A man’s judgment is best when he can forget himself and any reputation he may have acquired and can concentrate wholly on making the right decisions. – Adm. Raymond A. Spruance
You can lean over backward so far that you fall flat on your face. – Ben H. Bagdikian
He who turns the other cheek too far gets it in the neck. – H. Hert
The main discomfort in being a middle-of-the-roader is that you get sideswiped by partisans going in both directions. – Sydney J. Harris
You’ve got to stand for somethin’ or you’re gonna fall for anything. – John Mellencamp
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. – Thomas Paine
He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own. – Aesop
It’s important that people should know what you stand for. It’s equally important that they know what you won’t stand for. – Mary H. Waldrip
Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof. – James Russell Lowell
A good resolution is like an old horse which is often saddled but rarely ridden. – Mexican Proverb
Never give in – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – except to convictions of honor and good sense. – Winston Churchill