A Line of Defense
Men will come and men will go … That’s advice I’ve heard all of my life, and the older I get, the more meaning that old, sometimes tired cliché makes to me. It not only makes sense, but it’s true – so true it hurts. Men have come, and men have gone.
I wish that the wisdom of those words somehow had rooted in me in my younger days of courting, dating, and plain old messing around with the opposite sex. There are so many compromises I would not have made and decisions I would have stuck by, confident that if a man left me because of my convictions, then it would be fine. It would be more than fine; it would be God’s perfect will.
Over the years, I’ve had my convictions tested on more than one occasion and on more than one occasion I’ve failed some of those tests miserably. I remember telling a friend that it all starts with the first compromise. The first compromise opens a door that is hard to close and difficult to reenter from the other side.
With each compromise, I chipped away from my lines of defense, especially my chief line of defense – my salvation in Christ Jesus. And that’s only with the compromises I made post-salvation.
In my pre-salvation compromises … well, let’s just say, they are in part the reasons why I asked Jesus into my life in the first place. Some of those compromises drove me to my knees and to the altar, and in the immortal words of Paul, “All things work together for the good.”
However, in 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had never compromised at all. You see, I’ve had to live out the consequences of saying yes when I meant no and no when I meant to say yes. I have had to deal with the end result of making choices that defy my beliefs, the way I was raised, and the basics tenets of my faith. I might not have been punished, but I’ve certainly had to lie in a bed I made too many times to count.
I was watching a television program about the AIDS pandemic in the Black community, and was reminded of the lines of defense I’d crossed in my lifetime. I was reminded that God’s mercy and grace have sustained me and even kept me from falling into that statistical abyss of Black women infected with HIV or full-blown AIDS. If a born-again Christian woman has to reach for things to be grateful for, then she shouldn’t have to reach too far in light of the fact that too many of us have that dreaded disease and/or have been exposed to it. A negative test result is enough to have many of us run around the church, shouting and wailing with joy.
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