Wishy washy. Ever changing. Lacking convictions. Flighty. Fairweather. There are many terms that we can use for those people who fail to hold to any beliefs or convictions with firmness. Do we stand up for what we believe in, even when it is an unpopular view or we receive criticism? Do our convictions disintegrate when we face opposition?
My parents were people of conviction, they held firm to their beliefs, and that stance was somewhat unpopular to those who held convictions opposite to theirs. My parents and I would not always agree on everything, but there was a mutual respect there. They knew what they believed, could support it with more than, "That's just what I believe," and they were consistent.
I had a conversation with someone yesterday who had struggled with my father's convictions. From their point of view, I completely understood how this could be the case. My father gave his life to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His desire and passion was to see people come to know who Jesus Christ is and to allow the transformation that can only come about through Jesus Christ to invade their lives and take over, not in a creepy, "I'm possessed" kind of way but in a "I'm submitting to the One who saves me" kind of way.
Please understand me, my father was not perfect. I actually lived with my parents until I was 28 years old. It saved me lots of money and it also gave me insight into who my parents were. I appreciated their honesty and transparency. Of course, I was the "baby," so I probably never fully saw everything, no matter how old you get, if you are the baby, your parents will always try to protect you from something. It can be both endearing and frustrating at the same time.
But my parents were consistent, a rare trait and quality in today's world. How many of us have been frustrated while in public we observe a parent reprimanding their child with idle threats that they never carry out? How many times have we heard someone stand up for something in the privacy of a conversation only to remain silent when in a public forum? Worse yet, how many times have we heard someone decry beliefs or behavior in public and observed them committing the very acts that they had decried while they think that no one is looking?
While we didn't always agree, my parents were consistent, and I appreciated that. I think that it is so important for us to hold to our convictions and to understand what we believe and why we believe it. I can't force you to believe what I believe, although I would like to convince you of it, but I can certainly hold to my convictions and allow them to be lived rather than simply spoken.
There are plenty of people who speak as if they have strong convictions and fewer who actually live those out. I would much rather have people know my convictions by how I live than by what I say. Sure, it's important to speak your convictions, but if there are not actions to support them, are they really worth the air that we are using to utter them?
Mom and Dad have left a legacy for many people. When one surveys the landscape of their life, a key question is to ask whether or not they left an indelible mark. When I ask that question of my mother and father, I can answer with a resounding, "Yes!" I am, as many others are, proof of it. May my convictions be evident in both what I do and what I say.