It takes courage to confess and repent of sin. It takes courage to keep your wedding vows and uphold your biblical roles in the family. It takes courage to raise godly children in the midst of a godless culture. When every voice around you screams, “COMPROMISE!” “SURRENDER!” “TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT!”, it takes courage to stand for the truth of God’s Word.
In the early 1970s, the Iraqi government arrested a group of American students on trumped-up espionage charges. The wicked regime of Saddam Hussein wanted confessions, and to elicit the desired admissions of guilt, they began torturing the students.
The prisoners were told that if they confessed, they could go free. “Compromise the truth.” “Admit to a falsehood.”
The promise of freedom became irresistible.
One by one, as the pressures and the pain mounted, every prisoner confessed to crimes he didn’t commit. Every prisoner except one.
For this one man, the torture intensified. The loneliness of isolation became unbearable. He came close to breaking.
Recounting his friend’s story in The Wall Street Journal, Mark Helprin writes, “Then they announced that they were finished with his case, that he could simply confess or die. A confession lay before him as they raised a pistol to his head,cocked the hammer, and started a count down. He had heard executions from his cell. ‘Sign your name,’ he was told, ‘and you will live.’ But he refused. He closed his eyes, grimaced, and prepared to die. They pulled the trigger. When he heard the click he thought he was dead. The gun, however, had not been loaded.”
Helprin’s friend was eventually released. He discovered afterwards that every other prisoner who had confessed was hanged in the public square.
Only he survived.
The moral of the story is clear: Compromise represents a far greater risk than courage. As difficult as it is to stand for truth, it is much harder to live with the consequences of moral failure.
Nearly 500 years ago, a disobedient church held a “gun” to the head of a simple Augustinian monk. Faced with the choice between capitulation or excommunication, Martin Luther spoke the words that changed the course of history. “My conscience is captive to the Word of God,” he said. “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”
My friend, when every voice around you screams “COMPROMISE!” “SURRENDER!” “TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT!”; when marriage is hard and parenting is harder; when your wedding vows could easily be broken: STAND FOR THE TRUTH!
God will reward your faithfulness.
This article was excerpted from One Home at a Time, © 1999 by Dennis Rainey. Focus on the Family Publishing. Used with permission. All rights reserved.