Heart to Heart

(A speech given at our June 1998 Graduation Ceremony)

      I would like to begin by thanking God for putting it in my parents’ hearts to homeschool and for giving them the determination and strength to carry on no matter what it cost. And I also want to personally thank each and every one of the moms and dads here today for making that commitment. Whether you have been homeschooling one year or twelve, the sacrifice was great. I believe that as you look upon each of the graduates here today, there is a sense of pride knowing that you have given your children the very best you possibly could—a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of their life. This isn’t the end; it is just the beginning. How exciting!

      This is such a special moment in our lives. It is more than just a graduation; it is a time for us to look back upon the past twelve years to reflect upon what God has done, a time to look ahead to see where God is leading us, and a time to follow His lead. Without my parents’ wisdom and training, I would not be standing here today. My parents believed that God was calling them to raise up a nation through His children. They taught me to rely on God as my hope and strength. They refused to give up when they felt like giving up. And they instilled in me that same hope, courage, determination, and vision which I would like to share with you today.      Romans 12:2-3 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.” As homeschoolers, we are different, but being different isn’t enough. Oftentimes we get caught up in comparing ourselves to this world instead of Christ. After I witnessed to a young man for the longest time, he declared to me in exasperation, “Heather, I really am a good guy compared to my friends!” I replied, “That’s the problem. You compare yourself to your friends, but our perfect standard is Jesus Christ. His life on earth is an example that we are to strive for, not just by being transformed, but by renewing our minds with that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.”      Being different has become a fad and an expression of individuality. “If it feels good, do it” has become the motto for many Americans today, indicative of how far our ideas of freedom have fallen from the founders’ intention for liberty—to act freely under the constraints of the law—as opposed to the freedom to do your own thing. One benefits all; whereas the other only benefits self. A philosophy so prevalent in a me-first, fast food, self-serve world.      Moral decay has become evident in every facet of life. We see this through gambling, partial birth abortion, rape, murder, homosexuality, euthanasia, and the New Age movement. Sadly to say, many of these things have gone so far as to be condoned in the White House. Our president doesn’t understand why we just can’t all get along, but as Christians, we must understand that we are not going to find that utopia. One of America’s founding principles was the Christian Principle of American Political Union, but the founders understood that this must be consistent with the Biblical Doctrine of Separation. We cannot find unity amongst everyone, and we should not strive to be in union with everyone.      Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates both day and night. He is like a tree firmly planted by streams of waters, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does he prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor the sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” And Psalm 34:14 says, “Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut them off from the memory of the earth.”      So it is with the righteous man with whom we should seek unity and the evildoer with whom we must separate. Some say we should not judge man. However, it is my belief that we are not to judge man’s heart, but that we know a man by his deeds, even a child by his doings. The Bible speaks clearly on this in Matthew 7:16-20, “By their fruit you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit and every bad tree bears bad fruit.… Thus by their fruit you will know them.” You see, moral character cannot be both virtuous and sinful at the same time.      We are to be in the world, but not of it. We should not be a part of anything that would lead us into sin. We are to be a light to the world, not just when we go on a mission trip, but in our everyday life. In order to be that light, though, we must first be rooted in God’s Word and have an understanding of the prevailing worldviews so that we can be defenders of the faith to the fullest extent. The Bible calls us to be as wise as serpents but as innocent as doves. Colossians 2:8 cautions us to, “See that no man takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ.”      All are welcome, but few will follow after counting the cost. Will you be one of those who follows? God does not promise an easy road ahead. Whenever a stand for righteousness is made, there is always a price to pay. Matthew 10:21-22 tells us, “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated on account of My name: But it is the one who endures to the end who will be saved.”      Look at the great leaders throughout history and the price they paid for the freedoms we so often take for granted. If we don’t stand up and make a difference, who will? We have to remember that we have been bought with a price—the blood of Jesus Christ. Academics are not everything; it takes character to make a nation great. This character, as we will see, is forged through adversity and a faith in God.      It was character that brought the Pilgrims to America. They believed that no price was too great to pay for liberty, and this was the attitude they carried with them through the many trials which they faced. They were men and women of utter conviction who believed that God intended men to be free. Whenever God uses a people, He tests them to see how firmly they will stand and uses the trials to build their character, making His vessels stronger for what lies ahead.      Despite all the many men who came over to America through the centuries driven by selfishness and greed, God preserved this great nation for a people of principled character—godly men and women driven by a zeal for truth that would raise up godly generations to further Christ’s kingdom. It was this same character that kept the patriots fighting for liberty during the War of Independence. They understood Voluntary Union and Biblical Separation. What an amazing thing to realize that these men who had so many theological differences did not allow Satan to come in and cause dissension, but gathered together with a common goal and conviction. They were willing to work together and die together for the truths they held so dear. They understood what was at stake, and they were willing to put their petty differences aside and voluntarily unite as one in Christ Jesus, separating from the tyranny of England.

      We will never find another army that has endured the hardships like those faced by the Continental Army. It is impossible for us to completely understand the full extent of their dire circumstances. They were accused of being rebels, but the records prove that the colonists did not want to separate from their beloved Mother Country. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose, but they would rather die, knowing they had saved many from bondage, than to live, knowing they had saved themselves at the cost of liberty. To do this would be in violation of their conscience and represent a lack of moral character.

      These were the men and women who made our nation great. They have given us a legacy that we need to be able to pass on to future generations, now made possible through the teaching and sacrifice of our own parents. We are the leaders of tomorrow; I pray that we will prove worthy of our calling. It is time for us to end compromise and complacency and emerge as a generation of leaders like Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams.       What will history tell of our generation? Will we mark the passages of time as a people of integrity, self-sacrifice, and courage, or will they speak of a time when religion and politics were not mixed, a time of peace at all costs?      The choice is ours to make, and only time will tell the path we choose to take. Whenever our flesh questions, we must remember the sacrifice our parents made to give us our godly foundation. We must remember the sacrifice our forefathers paid to give us liberty. And ultimately, we must remember the sacrifice our Father in heaven made, dying on the cross, in order to give us life.      Truly, character is the seed of greatness. ©