By Justin Torossian
There he was, that October 31, banging on a door. That Saturday five-hundred years ago, this monk named Martin Luther wasn’t looking for candy. With the hammer blows were posted his famous “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. In a nutshell, the message spoke out against the common practice in his church of paying money for “indulgences” – notes that supposedly granted forgiveness for your sins. Luther didn’t find anything supporting this in the Bible—so he protested. Little did he realize the ripple effect that it would have – birthing the Protestant Reformation—a call to the Catholic Church, which Luther loved, to base its faith solely on the Bible. And this, because Luther was not willing to compromise biblical principle.
When it comes to relationships, healthy compromise isn’t only a good thing…it’s a necessity! Think about it. Without being willing to give up preferences and opinions, most couples would never agree on their new kitchen countertop color, or even the name of their next child. But while compromising on preferences is a must, there is a kind of compromise that is never safe for the Christian—compromise of principle. Standing firm for the truths of God’s word was literally what led the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace, Daniel into the lion’s den, and millions of Christians down through time to stand up for religious freedom, even at the risk of losing their lives. They all considered the price tag of compromise too high for the sake of peace and unity. They recognized that true peace—God’s peace—must stand on two legs. Love and truth. Summarizing this loving but firm stance, Martin Luther said — “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” Luther not only recognized that truth was worth being divided over, but that by its very nature, truth separates.
Jesus Himself, the living embodiment of the truth, said that “[He] came not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:24). But what does that mean? Isn’t Jesus the “Prince of Peace”? Absolutely! Jesus spoke His words about separation because He foresaw family members and friends being divided over the Truth. Some would make decisions to accept, but others to reject Him and His teachings. While God is a God of unity, He is also a God of separation. In the week that God created the world, in three out of the six days we find God dividing. And when God recreates us at conversion, He separates us from our unhealthy hobbies. He even separates us even from our unhealthy friendships for a time… in order to grow us in Him so that we’re strong enough to begin influencing them for Jesus. God separates…but in order to unite. And the unity that Jesus prayed for His followers to have in John 17 stands on not only the foundation of love…but also of truth.
How is it with us? What are some ways you find God giving you opportunities to stand for principle in your day to day interactions? Whatever they may be, take your stand for truth…with the love that God freely gives!
Justin Torossian is pastor at the Armona Seventh Day Adventist Church in Armona. He may be reached at [email protected] by calling 559-909-0965.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.