Shades of grey away.

September 18, 2007

Are there shades of grey? Is there really a spectrum of rightness to wrongness? White, near-white, light grey, medium grey, dark grey, darker grey, black?

Because I don’t see shades of grey in Scripture. I see black & white, stemming from our hearts.

Is even a little bit of deception okay? A little bit of pride? A little bit of intoxication? A little bit of unforgiveness? A little bit of jealousy? How about just a little bit of impurity?

It makes me wonder what the Garden of Eden would have been like if Adam & Eve held to this notion that there are “shades of grey”. God told them, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil you shall not eat . . .” (Genesis 2:16).

So, what if Adam told Eve, “I’ll just look away or walk away while you’re eating the fruit so I won’t be held responsible”? What if Eve said, “Adam, just put your tongue to it”? What if Eve just chewed the fruit but didn’t swallow? What if Adam said, “Eve, let’s store some of these away & eat them only if there’s ever a famine. Surely God would understand then that desperate times call for desperate measures”?

If they asked these questions, wouldn’t we say there was something the matter with their hearts? If they were stepping so close to the edge, wouldn’t we question their motives? Why would they want to when the God they profess to love is way far on the other end?

Whenever I read the account of the Fall, I inwardly groan. Oh, if they only knew how far a moment’s disobedience would take them from God! If only they knew what they were forsaking (sweet, unbroken fellowship with God!) in taking the forbidden fruit. & very soon my groans lead to even sadder groans: We still do that. I still do that.

I’m not asking these “shades of grey” questions so I can use them to critically judge others (such is my prayer). I’m not asking to be legalistic either. I’ve felt the weight of the Law at one time, & I don’t intend to run back to its demands of perfection that I cannot achieve outside of Christ Jesus. Approaching the Law of God with Christ as Redeemer & the Fulfillment of the Law is sweetness; approaching the Law of God with the expectation of achieving it by my own ‘merit’ or efforts is crushing futility.

But I’m asking because lately I’ve been presented with situations where I need to make these sorts of difficult decisions. When it’s something blatantly wrong (false motives, false actions), most people won’t get heat for doing the right thing. But what about when it involves “good” intentions executed in a false way, or a socially acceptable sin (though no one would call it that)? Is either more or less acceptable to God than the other? Are there really shades of grey here?

When it is our heart’s desire to draw nearer to Christ, would we (could we) invite in even a hint of sin? When it is our single aim to be pleasing to Him, presenting our bodes as living, holy sacrifices to Him, could we love & cherish anything that is even questionable of falling short of His glory? Would we want to?

I think of the book of Daniel. Couldn’t Daniel & his friends have just eaten whatever defiling food the king gave them, saying, “God will understand our special circumstances”? Couldn’t Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego just bow down & think, “We’re really bowing to God in our hearts, not to Baal” so they’d blend in with the masses bowing to Baal, but they knew they were really bowing to the true God? Couldn’t Daniel have prayed 3 times as usual except in the dead of night rather than in broad daylight, saying, “I’m still praying to God, just in the covering of night”?

But how could they do otherwise? God was their God Most High. They feared God above man. They loved God more than anything, even earthly acclaim & riches. They treasured God above life itself. They walked closely with Him, knowing that fellowship with the Living God was the highest & sweetest joy, a precious treasure that no king could ever give.

Could they participate in anything that would break that fellowship with Him? Could they compromise in anything that would grieve their closest Friend (not a Friend because they were equal to Him, or He to them, but solely because of His goodness)? Could they display even the slightest distrust in the sovereign care & provision of their faithful Creator?

The answer is no. Not a harsh, judgemental no, but a strong, wholehearted no. No way would they trade in fellowship with God for earthly pleasures. No way would they trade in God’s good pleasure for man’s approval. No way would they trade in eternity for a moment of compromise. No way. They weren’t fools.

Shades of grey? Never mind that question.
Loving God & drawing nearer to Him? Whatever it takes. & that “whatever” is no sacrifice, no loss.

In walking with Him, may we be found close by His side . . . not any number of shades of grey away.

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2 Responses to “Shades of grey away.”

  1. stephanie Says:

    i love this entry. weird because i struggle being so black and white with certain things while allowing myself to get deceived by the “gray things.” so much is compromised in that “gray.” and you’re right, it’s not always tangible. it’s rooted in the heart!

    ps: next time i come up to norcal, we gotta gotta play. communicating through facebook just isnt cutting it =)

  2. cathie Says:

    i’m praying for you as well…


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