Monday, March 22, 2021

“The Plug Is Out of the Tub”

By Adam Faughn

     When Abraham Lincoln was elected as the sixteenth President of the United States, he knew that the country was falling apart. He made preserving the union his priority leading up to taking office and wanted it to be the focus of his administration. It was, at first, the chief reason he felt the Civil War was worth fighting (though he made the war about the emancipation of slaves after a short while).
     However, as he knew states were seceding and things were headed toward war, he told one of  his  confidants,  "The  plug  is  out  of  the  tub." Then,  though,  he  followed  that  imagery  with  a question  asked  by  one  with  the  weight  of  the world  upon  his  shoulders:  "And  what  shall  we do?"
     We  can  only  imagine  the  feeling  of  pressure and stress Lincoln had when he would ask such a  question,  but  it  is  also  possible  that  we  can understand  why  he  would  ask  this.  As  God's people,  we  see  the  morality  of  our  world  slip-ping  away  rapidly.  Biblical  morals  are  tossed aside, and those who still hold to them are told to be quiet or are even vilified. We are told that we  are  mean,  bigoted,  out  of  step,  "on  the wrong side of history," and cruel.
     Morally  speaking,  it  certainly  seems  as  if  the plug  is  out  of  the  tub.  If  that  is  the  case,  then let's ask Lincoln's question: "And what shall we do?"  From  the  way  people  act,  it  seems  there are several answers.
     Some basically say, "go with the flow." In other words, there are some who think that if the way of the world is "winning," then I had better be sure I am on the winning side. I may not lead the charge, but I will certainly not stand in the  way.  I'll  share  the  mottos  on  social  media,  and  I  won't  push  back  against  things  in  the least  because  I  don't  want  to  get  run  over  by  the  momentum  all  of  this  has.  That  mindset, however,  stands  in  sharp  contrast  to  what  God  told  His  covenant  people  in  the  Old  Testament: "You shall not fall in with the many to do evil" (Exodus 23:2).
     Some refuse to acknowledge the issue. When water leaves a bathtub, it takes a while. If you were  to  watch  it  nonstop,  it  might  be  difficult  to  notice  the  slow  change.  However,  if  you leave  and  come  back  after  a  few  minutes,  you  will  notice  the  tub  is  empty.  The  same  is  often true  with  moral  changes.  We  do  not  recognize  (or,  maybe  even  more  tragically,  do  not  care about) "small" movements away from Biblical teachings. So, we just go along with "little" changes (euphemistic language, slightly crude jokes, etc.), and we do not notice that the water is leaving the tub! Christians cannot stand for even tiny changes that move us away from the standard of the Word.
     The fact is, we may not be able to stop the flow away from Biblical morality in our culture. But that  should  never  give  us  the  feeling  that  we can  stop  fighting  it.  We  must  do  our  best  to plug  the  tub!  Our  efforts  may  be  small,  and they  may  get  washed  away  in  the  rush  that people are in to move away from God, but our work is never done. The absolute last thing we should ever consider is giving up. God has not put  us  here  to  avoid  work.  He  has  us  here  to do hard work.
     What shall we do? We shall stand for truth, no matter how fast the flow away from God ends up being.
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.

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