Posted: 2/12/18 at 10:00am. Column by Ed Jordan.
Commitment is under real pressure these days. It seems to have been diminishing for years in our culture. Is it because there are too many choices? Is it because we are too busy? Is it because we are living our lives based upon what our peers do? Is it because we have abandoned personal values and instead embraced group think that purports that there all no real absolute values? Funny how cultures change, and yet the more they change the more they are really the same.
When my generation was entering young adulthood, we were fiercely independent; or so we thought. We were not going to let our parents, or their values, control us. We were into “self-expression” and rebelled against anything that smacked of the establishment. We wanted to be different. We thought we were the epitome of independence, but in reality we were caught up in group think. In our independence we grew our hair long, wore Beatles’ hairstyles, bell-bottom pants, then stovepipe pants. In the midst of our “self” expression we all looked the same, dressed the same, talked the same and thought the same. We were not really expressing ourselves; we were expressing the values and ideas that others of our generation had.
Today many think that the common thread of the new culture is a lack of commitment. But is it really that? While many refuse to be committed to our society’s traditional cultural values, underneath the smoke and mirrors are people who are highly committed to their generation’s cultural indicators. Nowadays many people spend more hours using social media than they will ever spend in church or community involvement. So many people spend hours trying to be entertained and stimulated, while already being bombarded with more stimulation than is humanly possible to process. Ironic, isn’t?
So where am I going with these thoughts? I am encouraging everyone reading these words to evaluate the importance of having, and keeping, commitments in our lives, and to personally evaluate our commitments as to what or whom we are committed. To who or what are you so committed that you would give your life for them? What is too valuable to lose? Your mate? Your children? Your job? Your friends? Your eternal destiny? God’s smile upon your life?
What things seem extremely important, but actually would not even come into your mind if you are told that you only have 10 hours left to live? Many people think that God is irrelevant, or that God has no right to expect them to be in a relationship with Him. That strikes me as so sad. Who proved His love to us by sending His Son to pay the penalty for all our shenanigans? Who spends every day sending us spiritual nudges (God’s messages) whispering “I love you” into our lives throughout each day? What are we teaching our kids about commitment? As they watch us, they are well aware of what or whom we are committed to, or not.
My heart breaks as I see people who are afraid of commitment. The truth is, no one will get far in life without making and keeping commitments. It takes commitment to study, to learn, to graduate, to learn the skills needed in a career, and then to show up on time and work all day.
It takes commitment to love someone. Love requires putting the needs of the other person ahead of my own needs. Love requires standing by my commitments to my mate and my family. When the bottom drops out of life, people who love stand by each other. It does not mean we approve of destructive behavior; it means we love them in spite of their behavior.
Valentine’s Day is coming next week. It is a good time to reaffirm our commitments. How is your commitment to God, commitment to your mate, commitment to your kids, and commitment to the mission of your church? Proverbs 18:24 (NLT) states: “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Real friends stand by you through thick and thin. They are committed to you in good times and bad, easy times and hard times.
To whom, and to what, are you committed through thick and thin? Who will stand by you in the last hours of your life? Are you committed to stand by them?