By Leslie Ferrell
We’ve all heard the quote, “Moderation in all things.” I would usually agree with this quote strongly, and regarding some situations, I still do. However, when it comes to issues that matter, I do not want to be the one described as on-the-fence, neutral, indifferent, lukewarm or apathetic.
We have also all heard some version of the quote, “If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything.” I’ve often seen pins of it on Pinterest, and I can remember my dad saying it to me in his own encouraging way. In a Christian atmosphere, this seems like a fairly easy thing to understand.
We believe in God in a world where many do not, and we need to hold onto these beliefs when we leave this Christian atmosphere and enter a world where standing up for what we believe in may be much more difficult. I have always known this to be true.
Only in college, though, have I really begun to understand what it means to stand for something and how important it is to remember that having an opinion is sometimes necessary.
Take, for example, Senator Ted Cruz, who spoke in the Senate for over 21 hours in late September against funding for Obamacare. Whether or not you agree with the decisions made politically, the fact is, a man stood up and fought for something that he believed strongly about, knowing that people were against him and that in the end he may not get what he was fighting for.
I’m not saying that we all have to be radicals in every opinion we have and stand up for almost an entire day telling people what we think. But, we should know what we agree with and what we don’t. And when someone asks why, we should be able to tell them.
This is coming from someone who is terrible at making decisions. There are many situations where my feelings are entirely ambivalent or I couldn’t care less in one direction or the other.
Often I do not have an opinion or preference, and sometimes even when I do I won’t say anything for the sake of pleasing other people and to avoid ruffling any feathers, and also because putting my opinions out there and becoming vulnerable can be a scary thing.
Recently, however, I’ve realized that this is sometimes necessary. If I’m going to stand up for myself and my decisions, I may not be in agreement with everyone, and that’s OK.
I will also admit that I am not the most politically-educated person. I could not sit down and confidently debate my views on this scandal or that shutdown. But I think this is something that goes beyond politics.
There is a problem with always standing in the middle. It hinders us from growing and learning and recognizing who we are. At the same time, we should not become stubborn and set in our ways because we believe it’s us against the world. We need to be open-minded to the perspectives of others as they may help us to learn and grow as well. But, when our values are being compromised or someone is attacking what we stand for, we shouldn’t be afraid to stand firm and fight back.
When it comes to our faith, Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Luke 21:19 says, “Stand firm, and you will win life.”
We need to know what we believe in and what we value, and we should care enough about issues that are happening in our world to educate ourselves on them and know where we stand—as citizens of the United States, as Christians and as everyday, ordinary people.
Why? Because if we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. Because we shouldn’t let other people define us or define what we believe. Because we have been called to a much higher purpose, and that purpose can only be fulfilled on one side of the fence or the other.