Friday May 13, 2011
I remember a night when I was on the college baseball team decades ago, and we were driving from the snow covered foothills of northern Colorado to El Paseo, Texas to play some spring baseball games. Two coaches were driving two of the cars and I was in charge of driving the other car. As you might expect all of the rowdy players wanted to ride in my car and the good players were with the coaches. I don’t know how the conversation got started, but these grizzly guys knew that I didn’t cuss and so they started pushing me to say a cuss word. Over the next 45 minutes I was grilled and cajoled into trying to say one cuss word. The more they pushed, the more I stayed pat in not saying a cuss word. I was raised by parents who didn’t use profanity and I learned to communicate without using it either. They finally went onto other topics and I was relieved that I was off the hot seat. I had one of the most foul mouthed player come up two me privately later and said that he really admired my stand.
I was reminded of this event in my life when I read about Mordecai this morning. Everyone was commanded to bow down to Haman, the kings second in command, but Mordecai refused to bow down. “Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply.” (Esther 3:4). He had a moral compass within and he was not willing to waver from that compass. The only person he would bow down to is the God he worshipped. No matter how many times they tried to persuade him, he refused to compromise his moral ethics. What are the moral and ethical structures in our lives that we are not willing to compromise? In the face of possible death, would we still hold onto our beliefs? Are we willing to communicate our beliefs knowing that what we say would likely terminate a valued friendship? What are our non-negotiable moral and ethical standards? Answers to these and other questions help us to evaluate what we are willing to die for. Mordecai was willing to die versus bowing down to Haman and compromise his value system and shame the God he worshipped.
On this journey, there are going to be times when we are challenged to go to the wall for what we believe even to the point of losing our life.