By guest contributor, Kari Neal
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” In other words, those with no moral compass will vacillate in a time of decision. Trust me, I know from personal experience that this is so true. But how many of us have actually taken time to sit down and seriously analyze our core values?
I have found in life that if you really make up your mind and plan beforehand what you will do in a given situation should you ever be faced with that choice, it will be a no-brainer; the decision has already been made. All that’s left is the follow-through. A made-up mind is a powerful thing.
I heard a story many years ago about a church in Russia during a time in history when Christians were severely persecuted and hunted down. One night in the middle of a church service, the doors burst open and four armed soldiers walked menacingly into the room. They demanded that everyone raise their hands. They told the people there that those who weren’t ready to die for their faith could leave quickly, but this would be their only opportunity. Many did. The ones who chose to stay were terrified, knowing they were about to give their lives for the One they proclaimed to love. The soldiers issued the same command once more, but nobody else left. The four men then locked the church doors. Once they were alone, the soldiers amazed this small congregation with this statement: “We are Christians too, but we are only willing to fellowship with true worshippers – those willing to give their lives for their faith.”
I’ve often thought about this story over the years, wondering if I would have the same courage to back-up what I say I believe in a threatening moment like this. I imagine it has a lot to do with the core values you keep for yourself. My own personal core values basically boil down to the Ten Commandments in the Book of Exodus. If you read them in Leviticus they might just put you to sleep, so I’ll share my own “Kari-fied” version:
The 1st Commandment: God is everything. Literally. Black and white. No gray areas.
The 2nd Commandment: You bow and bend your knees to Him only. I refuse to be ruled by a piece of cheesecake.
The 3rd Commandment: Ladies don’t curse. At least, in my humble opinion (It’s sooo not cool)
The 4th Commandment: Don’t forget to give Him one day of intense devotion and rest. Make Him the total focus.
The 5th Commandment: Obey your parents in every way you can. Not always easy, but do-able.
The 6th Commandment: Don’t kill. You’ll be sorry later. And it’s not worth it.
The 7th Commandment: Don’t sleep around (sexual promiscuity). You’ll be sorry later, and it won’t bring satisfaction.
The 8th Commandment: Don’t steal. You’ll be sorry later too. The guilt will also keep you up nights.
The 9th Commandment: Don’t lie. It will come back to bite you in the rear.
The 10th Commandment: The green money monster is really, really ugly.
I don’t know where you stand right now, or what moral views you hold dear, but we all need a compass. I don’t believe there is any such thing as “situational ethics”; something is either right, or it’s wrong – God’s truth doesn’t change. By the way, there is no such thing as “too late” in life either. As long as you’re breathing there’s hope. No matter what you’ve done or how much you’ve messed up, God’s mercy is always available if you confess your sins to Him. Until the day you stop believing or breathing, Jesus can help you change your life.
KARI NEAL is a contributing writer to Real Jesus Ministries. She enjoys writing from a Christian woman’s perspective. She says, “I yearn to encourage and empower girls in all areas, from body fitness, to mind, to most of all – spirit. Deep, meaningful questions we all seek answers to.” She lives in North Carolina with her cat Shekinah.
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