Deliver Us From Evil, Part 15
June 7, 2019
I want to continue where we left off last week in dealing with the spirit of compromise that has grossly affected our society – AND – the body of Christ to a large extent! Excuse me in advance, if I stomp on your toes or touch a sensitive nerve.
Let’s talk about a touchy subject – well, touchy to political types, anyway. I’m fixin’ to go over the edge today. Way over the edge!
When Dad passed away, I inherited a ruler he kept on his desk for many years. It had a phrase I’ve always considered to be classic. The ruler was a gift from a group of pastors who decided that Dad was one of the greatest diplomats they’d ever met. He had gotten pulled into some kind of fracas and policy disagreement between these church leaders – denominational leaders – and after listening to them for a few minutes, offered a bit of really sage advice. It cooled the hot tempers and shut the argument down in nothing flat.
The phrase on the ruler? “Diplomacy: the art of letting someone else have your way.” Classic, isn’t it?
Dad was one of those kind of people who was the penultimate diplomat. He could walk into any controversy and cool the debate with just a few words to all the parties in the controversy. He understood the difference, too, between diplomacy and compromise.
Compromise, you see, is the art of altering one’s standards in order to keep peace in a situation. There’s a huge difference between diplomacy and compromise.
A few years ago, when I was running for Congress, I had the opportunity to debate both my Republican Primary opponent, and the two Democrats who were opposing each other in the Democratic Primary. Two of our debates were televised. Two or three of them were more like candidate forums in which we simply expressed our views without actually contesting the views of our opponents.
Sitting at the lunch table (during one of the candidate forums) next to Lloyd Doggett, the leading Democratic candidate – and eventual winner of the seat in Congress, a seat he still holds today – we were comparing notes with each other on some hot-button issues affecting voters in this district. It was a friendly discussion. We talked about immigration issues. We talked about the nation’s economy, balancing the budget – you name it.
Lloyd turned to me just before the forum began and said, “You know, Regner, you and I think a lot alike on more issues than we disagree on. I’m much more of a fiscal conservative than most people think I am.”
I laughed and said, “Too bad we’re not closer on social issues.” He responded, “Well, you know that politics is a game of compromise. We can all usually come to a place of agreement if we are willing to compromise a little.”
That was the end of our conversation that day, but his remark really got me to thinking.
Compromise is what has happened to this country, its morals, its spiritual state, its economy, its social programs – you name it!
Compromise is what happens when folks sell their character, their principles, their morality – for a bowl of pottage, something else that satiates the needs of their creature comforts (or someone else’s).
Compromise is what happens when someone trades Truth for some agenda, even if that agenda appears to be “a good thing.”
Truth is often the victim in compromise.
I’ll explain in a second.
Some folks think that Diplomacy is the art of compromise. Really? D’you think so? Maybe it has been relegated to that at times, but to me, diplomacy is the art of bringing disagreeing folks to the place of recognizing a common truth.
We’ll continue our discussion about diplomacy and compromise, but before we do, I’d like you to at least consider a basic fundamental: truth: the thing that often gets lost in the translation when folks begin to compromise with each other, and something that frequently goes down the drain when would-be “diplomats” start talking.
What is Truth? (I’ve shared this before, and it deserves repeating!)
A collection of facts? History? Scripture? Experience?
"Truth" is not a collection of facts. And yet it can be.
"Truth" is neither the reciting of history, nor a compilation of events which have occurred. And yet it can be.
"Truth" is not the quoting of scriptures. And yet it can be.
Facts. History. Scriptures. They can all be a portion of truth, but in and of themselves, they are not -- by any stretch of the imagination -- truth.
Facts can be twisted by The Spirit of Error and become a lie. History can be distorted -- and often is -- so that historical facts are taken out of context to present a false picture. Personal experience, left to stand on its own, can bring wrong conclusions. Scriptures can be taken out of context and quoted to support virtually any stance one desires to take.
Truth, therefore, is not just facts, history, personal experience, or scriptures.
Truth -- the genuine article -- can only come by the Spirit of Truth, which is part of the very character and makeup of God. The Spirit of Truth takes facts, takes history, and takes events which have occurred -- either in our lives or in the lives of others -- or, takes verses of scripture and applies them in a manner which brings life. The Spirit of Truth takes that life and transmits it into the core of our beings.
Truth -- the very essence of Jesus' onoma -- is that which He was clothed in. It was the life which went forth when He spoke the worlds into existence. It was the spirit which went forth when He breathed into man the breath of life.
Because everything He spoke was founded in Truth, there was an absoluteness to everything which occurred. The very foundations of the Universe rested upon that Truth.
Jesus made the incredible statement, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life….” He was and is The Truth!
Now that we’ve laid those foundations for our discussion, let’s come back to compromise and diplomacy. I know you think I just took off on some screwball tangent that had nothing to do with where this discussion started, but bear with me.
When we first come into this world, certain fundamentals are a part of our existence. Even those who are born into families that have no spiritual roots and no apparent faith in God still have basic truth incorporated in their genes. There is built into the core of their spiritual nature a fundamental recognition of, and need for, a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s why the entire human race was created in the first place.
We aren’t just accidents looking for a place to happen. We didn’t just randomly occur. Everyone of us have a plan and purpose and calling woven into our genetic structure, and it has been there for generation after generation after generation. And it will continue to be there for generation after generation after generation.
So why am I saying all this in a discussion on compromise and diplomacy? Because certain basic truths – whether we have entered into the plan of the Lord Jesus Christ for our lives or not – are intrinsic to every cell and corpuscle of our being.
Compromise begins in our lives when we trade away those truths, even if little by little, for something that satisfies or fulfills a momentary creature need. Follow me, if you will, down a path of logic. Some folks have referred to me as a “spiritual logician.” I trust that I am more than that – a whole lot more – but, nevertheless, follow me along this path of spiritual logic.
We are triune beings, created in the image of God. What does that mean, anyway?
We are, first and foremost, spirit beings. Our spirits are that eternal part of our existence designed to provide us with the linkage needed for fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are, secondly, a soul. Our souls were designed to live forever as well, but whether they do or not depends on decisions we make. Our soul incorporates our mind, our reason, our compassion, and our emotions. Inextricably linked with our spirit, our souls have the ability to override our spirits and make decisions contrary to God’s eternal purposes.
Lastly, we are flesh and blood bodies. Our bodies also have desires. They have needs. Our bodies are the determining factors in so-called “creature comforts.” Our bodies were designed to live forever – at least when creation first took place – but the partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden, the contamination of our souls with the HIV of the knowledge of good and evil, and subsequent loss of fellowship with God took care of our natural “forever existence” in a hurry. That, of course, was before Jesus redeemed us from the curse!
Now, back to compromise.
Compromise is what happens within ourselves when we trade Truth for creature comforts. It’s what takes place when spiritual realities take second place to rational thinking. Reason is the enemy of our souls, and the enemy of our spirits. Reason – human reasoning – rationalizes physical needs, weighs them against “possibilities,” determines a “probable” outcome based on that rationalization without taking spiritual realities into account, and makes a compromised decision.
We make a compromised decision once; then twice; then three times; and pretty soon, compromise is a natural part of our daily decision processes. Spiritual realities get left in the dust. The needs of our flesh take precedence and soon become the ruling factor.
Many folks wake up one day and realize they are successful in many areas of life – and totally unfulfilled. Year after year after year have gone by while they satiate the needs of their souls and their flesh, yet they have no linkage whatever in their spirits with the Spirit of God.
Because Jesus’ claims require such wholesale change in our thought processes, many folks turn to religions instead – all kinds of religions – in an effort to quiet their raging spirits. Religions, you see, create man-made methods and methodologies in which folks can rationalize with their minds ways to please God, and thereby “feel good” about having met the requirements of their spirits. Especially when those religions are supposedly “Christian.”
In so doing, they compromise away the Truth. Truth is the one essential that disappears with religion. Doctrine and dogma replace Truth. And with their minds, people rationalize away the Truth with their doctrines and dogmas, actually believing and justifying within themselves that they have Truth!
Our society today is so compromised that it has become part and parcel of human existence. When I first began to enter the world of politics, many of my friends warned me that I have would have to learn how to compromise, and that I would ultimately have to compromise the Truth at the core of my being in order to survive.
No sir! There are folks in the political realm today who refuse to compromise Truth. These are often the ones that compromisers often call bigots, racists, right-wing radicals and “out of touch with reality.” Our society is largely out of touch with reality, so those people who really understand Truth are frequently treated as lepers.
I can’t tell you that I will ever be elected to political office one day. I can tell you, however, that I long ago made the decision to never compromise Truth! In the world of politics, there are issues that are negotiable. But negotiations and compromise are not blood brothers. Negotiations do not have to result in compromise.
That brings me back to diplomacy. Diplomacy, as I have said before, is what I see as the art of bringing folks who sharply disagree back to the place of facing Truth, then dealing with the realities of that Truth.
Although I’m not the diplomat my father was, I’m learning. My mother and father were poles apart in their personalities. My mother, Lillian Lorraine Capener, was a no-nonsense woman who spoke her mind and her heart, whether folks liked it or not. Dad, Alvin Earnest Capener, was one of those folks who could say the same thing, but say it in a way that made hard things palatable. One thing for certain, neither one of them were compromisers. If it meant bulldozing ahead in the face of extreme opposition, they bulldozed; and then made you realize they were right!
Now you know where I get my bulldozing from! Hehehehehe…….
OK. Enough of all this. I’ve said all this to make you take a look at compromise. Is it part of your life? Have you compromised the Truth and traded it away for creature comforts, or for religious doctrines and dogmas? Have you traded away what you know in your spirit in order to satisfy reason and rational thinking?
Just thought I’d ask. Don’t shout me down. Thimk! Yeah, that’s what I said. Thimk!
“Thimk” is what happens when you set your mind aside to listen to your spirit. My definition. But can I help it if I’m right? LOLOL
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video using ZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-only call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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