Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle stand like a rock.”
Styles were meant to change – thank God! Can you imagine wearing a white wig with knickers above the knees and speaking the king’s English? No thanks. (David: Jason would probably enjoy that.)
Yet principles were not meant to change. President Jefferson recognized that although styles come and go, principles are unchanging – because principles are foundational for a multi-generational, flourishing society.
A principle is a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of belief. In professional sports, you learn quickly that the best athletes are the ones who master the fundamentals. The moment an athlete disregards the fundamentals, the end is soon near.
The same is true for society.
So it was quite concerning to hear Hillary Clinton last week at the Women in the World Summit say, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Essentially, we need to abandon the fundamentals that made this country great.
Let that sink in.
There is a dedicated and open agenda to restructure our core principles as a nation. It’s more aggressive today than it was last week, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. So how do we get in the game and engage, knowing that if we don’t, it’s just a matter of time before we’re not allowed on the field?
As noted in our book, we must have a hard head and a soft heart when dealing with the issues of today.
During the prophet Ezekiel’s time, the nation of Israel had turned its back on God – much like America – and God told Ezekiel that he was to speak out concerning these things. To prepare him, God said that He would make Ezekiel’s head as hard as rock.
“I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people” (Ezekiel 3:9 NIV).
God knew that Ezekiel’s message would be hard for the nation to receive, and as such there would be backlash and persecution. So God “hardened his head” to help him “stand like a rock” despite the persecution.
Yet, at the same time, God kept Ezekiel’s heart soft toward the people with whom he was speaking – because He wanted them to live.
“Say to them, ‘… I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live …’” (Ezekiel 33:11 NIV).
Today, we must have hard heads when it comes to the foundational truths of our faith and the principles that made this nation great. Yet in dealing with those who disagree, we must maintain a soft heart and seek their best, just as God desires.
The problem comes if we reverse either of these. If we have a soft head, we can’t stand for the principles that made this nation great and the fundamental shifts that Hillary spoke about will occur.
If we have a hard heart, we risk losing the decency and order that we’ve enjoyed for centuries in this nation. Hard hearts lead to anger, rage and disorder. A hard heart also prevents us from extending the grace to others that God gives to us.
Last week, we received a Twitter message from a woman in Indiana who understands this paradigm and is actively engaging today:
“I’m a newbie of sorts, only on Twitter since last August. But recently came under attack when I showed support for Indiana’s RFRA bill and was so discouraged I deactivated my account. Then I read your book, and combined with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I rejoined Twitter and was not afraid to engage anymore … with love yet not being afraid to engage the fight!”
This Indiana woman gets it – hard head, soft heart.
This is what it’s going to take from Americans in every community and church to push back the activist agenda seeking to “change our religious beliefs and cultural codes.” If our third president were alive today, you can rest assured he would stand, so why don’t we?
Currents are strong in a river, yet embedded rocks are stronger. If we’re going to leave a strong America for our children, we’re going to need to be like rocks and stand on principle – with heads as hard as flint. And at the same time we must keep our hearts soft in dealing with our fellow Americans, always seeking their best.
If we keep this simple paradigm at the forefront of our minds then the only change we’ll see in America is people standing like rocks. We think that’s the up-and-coming style these days!
Image courtesy of CNaene at FreeDigitalPhotos.net