Monday, July 16, 2012

Where Do You Toe the Line?

I Stop for Red Lights!

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

Tevya, the milkman in Fiddler on the Roof, had just discovered his eldest daughter selected her own husband after he had already arranged for her to marry the village butcher. Modern ways didn't make much sense outside of his traditional view of life, his place in it, and God's expectations for him in his assigned role, yet when he realized how much she loved him, he allowed the engagement.

Then the second daughter approached her father with the idea of marriage, but she was not asking his permission; she only looked for his blessings to marry a man who would take her far from the home she loved. Again, the milkman struggled with this concept, wondering how the world could continue without requiring the father's permission for marriage. Yet when he saw how much they loved each other, he relented and gave both his permission and blessings.

Finally, the third daughter knelt before him, begging him to accept the man she had selected and loved: a man outside his faith and an enemy to their village.  Although this soldier was not like the others and didn't embrace hatred and racism, the request to marry a man outside their faith was too much for Tevya, so he denounced his daughter. She became dead to him when she left home with her love.

Fiddler on the Roof challenges me to decide where I toe the line on my morality as modern life evolves. Do I embrace popular culture and the chipping away of my value system that it encourages, or do I hold on tight to Biblical teachings that have guided me since childhood?

Tevya bent over as far as he could in a changing world. He allowed his daughters to select a spouse of their own, even without his permission. However, when challenged on the basic tenets of his faith, he turned his back on the one begging him to renounce those beliefs.

Tevya's struggle of where to toe the line represents the challenge we all face as we decide where to draw the line when tested to stray off the path God has laid out before us.
Lord, Give me wisdom to discern right from wrong in this ever-changing world.

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