Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Principled or Stubborn?

No one could ever say that the Lord did not stick to His principles. And, since they were always grounded in the will of the Father, His principles cannot seriously be questioned. Today, however, He makes a very clear statement about stubbornness. The parable about the two sons is powerful. When asked by the father to go out and work, the first says "No". He then takes the time to think about it and goes out to work in the vineyard. The second readily says "Yes". He, however, ignores the entire matter and never does what he said he would. The Lord clearly points out the virtue in re-thinking things and changing one's mind in order to do what is right.
This parable could easily have been written today. Perhaps the Lord would use "go do your homework" instead of "go out and work in the vineyard", but the point would be understood just as easily.  The reactions would also be the same. One would just say what he/she thought the parent wanted to hear and go on doing whatever, and the other would resist at first but then re-consider and do it.
It is sometimes difficult to admit we may be wrong and re-think our position. For some, it is almost impossible. When my pride gets in the way, I resort to stubbornness, resulting in thinking that "I know better than anyone else", or "I am too old to change, this is the way I am". When we think that way, it also usually means we have no good reason that we can articulate, so we simply hunker down and decide to stick to our guns.
Fortunately, Jesus always gently encourages us to look at our decisions and ways of living and see if we need to adjust them in order to be more in conformity with God's will. Even though sinless, Jesus was as much likely to make human mistakes as anyone else. And He needed to adjust and change with the circumstances. We don't need to look any further than Judas to see the truth of that!
So, what about me? Am I willing to admit mistakes and try to correct them? Can I adjust decisions, ways of doing things, relationships, etc. that may not be according to the will of God? It would be much easier to simply fall into the trap (temptation, really) of thinking "I am fine, I am right, I am standing on my principles and will not change, so everyone else better get used to it."
The questions is: Am I being principled, or stubborn?

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