For years now I have used the phrase Stand Firm as a way of signing off in email and other written correspondence. It’s an exhortation, a charge, a reminder to both the recipient and myself. Sometimes it gets lost as a simple salutation (e.g. “Take care” or “Have a nice day”), but it’s more than that to me.
There is much debate about the moral high ground in life; not all agree on who sets that high bar in the first place. You, me, the government, society, God, nature – whose morality is the highest?
Stand Firm implies moral choice. Moreover it implies a surrendered life to that same moral compass. “I will stand firm in the rightness of this situation”. Conversely it implies that we will stand firm against the opposition to that same morality. “I will stand firm against that which imposes against or threatens that which means most to me.”
Three (standing firm) scenarios
- I work in a business & industry with traditional metrics. We work hard (stand firm) for things that matter (profitability, compliance, employee retention, efficiency, etc.). These important must haves are common to most companies and services to customers. But what galvanizes everyone? What’s a central moral theme to which we might all Stand Firm? At the end of the day, do we just do what the boss says? The customer? The employee?
- I am a parent who has raised four children alongside a spouse that I love. We attempted to raise them with a moral code that defined our family and, honestly, we debated the boundaries of that code. What would/should be allowed (or not)? What galvanizes a family around a central moral theme to which we could all Stand Firm? Who makes that call? The dad? Mom? Child?
- I am a US Citizen. I pay taxes and vote. My country moves in ways that I support and in ways that I am appalled. If I don’t cross a legal line, I should be fine. If I do, I will not. Is the law of the land the moral compass that galvanizes our country? When I see the news each night we don’t seem all united and such. In fact much of the news I watch is built and programmed to capture the disparity in our nation rather than to celebrate the unity we enjoy. What galvanizes a country around a central moral theme to which we could all Stand Firm? Democracy, as much as we love her, will not agree to a central morality.
I believe in the high call to take a position and fight for it. It’s hard to do sometimes. In the scenarios above; the boss/customer/employee isn’t always right – sometimes their agendas are self-serving. The individual family members in a family are not the galvanizing centerpiece of the home – sometimes their agendas are self-serving. And we all know that there is enough self-serving, agenda driven shenanigans in government to make anyone, looking objectively, gag.
We all have our self-serving interests before us daily. They won’t leave, even if you try. It’s not wrong to have them, it’s just wrong to let them be the high moral ground.
As humanity has struggled to define right and wrong, as wars continue to fight over territory that is more about self-interest than moral high ground, know that I don’t stand firm thinking I’ve got this all figured out. But I met someone who said he did. I didn’t believe him at first. But he’s pretty convincing.
Jesus is That Someone. When I look at his life I see why His own countrymen killed him. He was standing firm against the injustice that had become the cultural norm yet he was challenging most every convention of the day. It wasn’t intended to insult what folks were doing (like their jobs, family, citizenship), but his teaching challenged the how & why of life. And He taught and modelled standing firm for the highest morality ever known, the laws of God.
I am thinking of things I need to do today and positions for which I need to advocate. I am thinking about situations at work, in my family, in our country and wondering Are these the hills to die on today?
As Easter approaches I am reminded that Jesus died on the hill that matters most.
As I sign off today, I’m reminded to stand firm and invite others to do the same. Stand Firm for Him. Do what He would want us to do in a situation. Treat people, decisions, conflict and celebration the way He would have us to do – with the grace that flowed from the hill He chose to die on and in the power in which He walked out of the tomb the world thought they’d left Him in.
The thought of a world so committed is profoundly compelling.