Where Do We Draw the Line, and How Do We Stand?

On March 5, 1836, the Mexican soldiers under General Santa Anna had Texas Colonel William Travis and 189 of his men under siege and trapped inside the Alamo. According to the story, Travis gathered his men together to encourage them to fight with nobility what would surely be their last battle. He concluded his famous speech by drawing his sword, marking a line in the sand, and stating with gusto, “I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line.” That day courageous men made a monumental decision to cross a line, stand, and fight for what they believed was right despite certain death.

Today all across Texas and in every other state in this great country we call the United States of America, children are sitting down to their studies—not in a classroom but in their homes—under the tutelage of their parents. Yet while parents teach their children the history and foundation of this country, while they require their children to read and study the Constitution by which our freedoms are defined, while many choose to teach from a biblical perspective and encourage their children to view the world from a biblical view, their thoughts are often focused on the battles that rage beyond their doors, and many are wondering where exactly is that defining “line in the sand” over which they should step.

We live in a day and age in which schoolchildren are being murdered, our constitutional rights are being challenged, and all the while our national debt runs rampant and out of control. There is even whispered talk of secession and a potential societal collapse. During these uncertain times in our nation’s history it is easy to be frightened and concerned, and home school families may find themselves taking sides and wondering where the lines will be drawn.

Before we let ourselves become fearful and distraught, we should remember that a careful study of history reveals that all ages in history have in fact been uncertain times. Of course some were better than others, depending on the time and place, but there have been in all ages both “wars and rumors of wars.” Were we as Christians not warned that such would be the case? We should be careful to remember when we are looking for that “line in the sand” that we are not necessarily in a battle of Republicans vs. Democrats, or Conservatives vs. Liberals, or any other numerous battle lines of Us vs. Them; we are in a battle that is almost as old as history itself.

We are reminded of that against which we truly battle and how we should stand in Ephesians 6:12-14:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. . . .

Alexis de Tocqueville has been quoted as saying, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Today it is very easy to look out at our nation and think that we are no longer great because we are no longer good. Perhaps there is some truth to that statement, but if we are to find that “line in the sand” and know where it is we should stand, we must first know where the battle against spiritual wickedness lies—and it may not be as far away as we think.

How often do we look at our national leaders, our media, politicians, and those athletes, actors, and celebrities who are in the spotlight and cast judgment and blame for the state of our nation? It is just so easy to think that the battlefield lies outside our door. However, have we allowed our pride to blind us to the battlefield that still lies inside our own hearts? It is easy to look out our doors at an evil world and point to the wretched wrongs that plague so many families, but have we become, as the lyrics from the song, Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns, so eloquently put it, “plank-eyed saints with dirty hands and a heart divided”?

We look at our lives and think that because we look good and clean on the outside, we must be clean and good on the inside, and we forget that even our very righteousness is as filthy rags before the throne of grace. There may not exist within your home such atrocities as abuse, pornography, or any number of evils that we consider to be the downfall of our nation, but often if we take a close look at our own hearts, we will discover they are filled with the hidden sins of deception, subtle dishonesty, and blind pride.

Pride is mentioned fifty-three times in the Bible, and never is it considered a virtue; however, we do not often consider the gravity of such a sin as equal to those other “dark” sins, and yet in Ezekiel 16:49 pride is the first sin listed as the iniquity of Sodom.

Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49 NKJV)

There will always be evil in this dark world, just as there has always been evil, but if we truly wish to draw a line in the sand and make a stand for what is right; if we want to truly change the world in which we live, we must be careful that we do not let self-righteous pride blind us to the battle that not only rages within the world around us but also hides within our hearts. Pride will tempt us to draw a line at the threshold of our homes and will hinder the help that we might extend to those who, in the world beyond our doors, falter in fear on the front lines. Before we think of ourselves as good and standing on the right side of the line, let us be careful that we have not let pride blind us to the brother who is hurting and looking for help just beyond our door. There may be a day when we indeed must decide on which side of the line we will stand, but it just might be that change comes to both our nation and our homes when we recognize that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood” and when, with a humble heart of compassion, we extend a helping hand to those upon whom we have cast judgment.