I find I use the term “core values” sometimes as I try to explain the fundamentals of what I believe. I have come to realize that term isn’t particularly meaningful because even I struggle with what those core values are. I used to jokingly tell people, “I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” but I found that didn’t tell people much either. Is he socially liberal on welfare issues, gay rights, or is he talking about community outreach? Those are great questions – so here is my dilemma.
Most of my values are pretty old fashion. I believe people should work hard and take personal responsibility for their lives. They shouldn’t live off the largess of others and milk the social welfare system. I believe there are absolutes in moral behavior. Pre-marital sex, homosexuality and other sexual conduct outside of God-ordained marriage is sinful. Politically, I believe in smaller government, (i.e. that government’s role is national defense and little more than that). I believe that the closer government is to the people the better off her citizens are. I am almost Libertarian in my belief that government just needs to stay out of people’s business. Religiously, I believe in one God (Jehovah)! I believe the Bible is the infallible, authoritative word of God and provides “ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.” I believe if a man doesn’t work – he shouldn’t eat. I believe a man who doesn’t provide for his own household is worse than an infidel. All in all my belief system is hard-line and hard-wired.
This is where I struggle. I believe in mercy, compassion and having an understanding heart. I believe there are times in life that people need a hand up without enabling bad choices. I think that “social welfare” should be local in nature. That way we know the people we are helping and we cut the bureaucracy. I believe that benevolence and social engagement is best done by the churches – it is part of their divine charge to “care for the fatherless and widows in their affliction and stay unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). I believe sometimes it is better to err on the side of good works.
George Bush coined the term compassionate conservative and when he did, I loved that term, but Washington is great at rhetoric and lousy at implementing anything of value to God-fearing, hard-working citizens. So how does a hard-lined, tender-hearted Christian exercise his faith and remain true to his core values? WITH GREAT DIFFICULTY.
I lean more to the side of believing that the lazy, unwilling to work, welfare state needs some radical change and maybe even a little serious butt-kicking to get them off the government dole and back to work. While I believe we should show tenderness and compassion to those struggling, we need to get back to preaching about sin and separation from God. If you love someone, you tell them that their conduct will end in self-destruction – the same is true of their spiritual condition.
Yesterday I was told I don’t understand what Christianity is because I refused to enable someone’s bad behavior. I am so sick of hearing “God wants me to be happy.” NO, God wants you to do right, so you can live eternally.”
Compassionate Conservative – I’m not sure what that is.