Kid Worldview: The Debt Ceiling and Compromise

admin —  August 2, 2011

By Beth Groh

The “Daily Debt Dysfunction” we hear about in Washington D.C. has me both ready to (a) scream and (b) pray.

I’ll spare you the scream (although, as my family would admit, it is barely muffled as I chafe at the lies and half-truths that spew across the nightly TV screen).

But as I look to prayer—and God’s Word—for insights, I gain new calm and clarity.

Last week, we looked at the biblical perspective on debt—so we won’t go down that road again, although I would encourage you to prayerfully consider the spiritual and financial implications of debt, both for your family and for our nation’s future.

But, just in these waning hours of this debt limit deadline, it dawned on me one of the many “gods” that’s being worshipped, both by our political leaders and a vast majority of well-meaning Americans.

We’re worshipping a god called Compromise. And it’s a practice that is tearing our nation apart, and leading to the downward spiral of dissention and destructive deal-making that’s being created to appease this demanding god.

I know. You may be thinking already, “What’s wrong with compromise? Why shouldn’t we always want to find common middle ground?”

After all, one can reason, even Jesus Himself said in his majestic Beatitudes that “Blessed are the peacemakers.” So why not practice a little peace around Washington, D.C.? Or even in our own families, when sometimes compromising beliefs can be the quick-fix to harmony with our relatives?

Here’s the problem. In our desire to please the god of Compromise, we have dismissed the importance of at least being mindful of a spirit of Principle.

The debt fight is a classic battle over these warring spirits—revealing both the divisions amongst the politicians in Washington, and the voters back home who put them there. (Our families aren’t immune, either.)

On the Left, you have a few dyed-in-the-wool liberals who truly believe in their hearts that our government should be run from a Socialist-type system.

The government should be in the business of “leveling”—meaning a proportionately higher amount of money should be taken from the “haves” and given to the “have nots.”

By necessity, they believe in a massive level of taxation on the well-to-do so they can create a vast financial safety net. Large government spending is a sheer requirement. And, if the debt gets too high, the logical solution is simply to squeeze more out of the top bracket to pay for services for the bottom bracket.

That extreme Left position stands in contrast to the very founding principles of our nation. But, those liberals would argue, the Constitution is a living-breathing document that can and should be changed and/or reinterpreted over time.

Now on the Right, you have a few staunch constitutionally minded conservatives who believe a large federal government is by nature intrusive of individual liberties—and likely to produce a crushing debt and taxation system that will choke the free market, and lead to economic collapse.

They believe we’re at the tipping point now where the only answer is to drastically cut government spending and restructure the tax code to encourage private business growth.

Those on the Right, in particular, are being demonized by the Left-leaning media as being rigid and unwilling to bow to the god of Compromise. Standing on Principle is a sin in this age of tolerance and appeasement.

The consequences?

Let’s say there’s 20% on both the far Left and far Right—that leaves a 60% majority in the middle trying to satisfy both.

It’s impossible. And the result, once again, may be a watered down, kick-the-can-down-the-road compromise that does nothing to solve the underlying financial mess in our nation—and, perhaps more importantly—provides no clear direction for those who yearn for our nation to head either Right or Left.

By standing our ground in the middle, we’re going nowhere—and sinking under the enormous new spending out of each new sacrifice to the god of Compromise. Ultimately, American voters bear the blame—they need to decide which direction our country should head, and elect principled representatives who will be held accountable.
(Careful, I’m about to scream again!)

Before I get too frustrated at this endless impasse (followed by meaningless negotiated “solutions”), I look to our dear Savior for both comfort and wisdom.

Do I see a Savior reflecting Compromise, or Principles?

Well, yes, I do see the Good Shepherd who has tremendous compassion for His wandering sheep.

But I also see the Son of God who made a calculated plan to return to the Temple after He witnessed its desecration, turning over those tables and calling out those who would pervert His Father’s house.

I hear our Lord reminding His disciples: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34) His Sword of Truth in His words cuts the hearts of men, yes, and leaves little room for the god of Compromise when it comes to man’s Salvation.

After all, He is THE Way. He’s not ONE way, a POSSIBLE way.
He’s not just a kind-hearted teacher who came to this earth offering suggestions. He came offering a path to reconciliation to His Father—by laying His life as the bridge to carry us over our sins that would have separated us from eternal life with our Creator God.

His gift of faith empowers us to stand on Principle, His principles in His Word.

So, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I would encourage you to guard your heart against worshipping that false god of Compromise. Yes, harmony has its place. And, yes, we must be willing to bend in life to live in peace with others and sometimes to even do His Work.

But watch for times when you step away from Principle in seeking the more comfortable path of Compromise. Sometimes principles are worth fighting for. Certainly His principles are even worth dying for.