Saturday, March 7, 2015

50 Shades of Black and White

by Tim Howard

I was born in the era of Black and White T.V. Even though color televisions were available in the early 1950’s it wasn’t until the mid 1960’s that they were affordable for the average family.

I was also brought up with a black and white belief system. Certain things were right and certain things were wrong. Leaders, Pastors, Parents, Teachers and others who held a prominent role determined the rights and wrongs. It was cut and dry. ONE SIZE FIT ALL… We all fit into the same box. 

My mother use to say: “’Others’ can do certain things but we can’t.” The underlying judgment of course was that they were wrong and we were right.  

Since my early years I’ve learned that right and wrong issues are not simplistic. It is not as simple as making a list of do’s and don’ts. I have discovered many factors. What is wrong ‘now’ may not be wrong ‘later.’ Often, there is a timing issue that determines right and wrong. It may be wrong to communicate certain things to a child at 6 years of age but right to communicate at a later time. It is wrong to drive an automobile at 15 yrs of age but right to drive at 16 if you have a license.

Right and Wrong has something to do with quantity as well. In our culture it is considered wrong to drink alcohol if you are under 18 but considered acceptable to drink if you are over 21 – at least if you don’t drink too much and then attempt to drive. This makes it wrong even if you are much older. 

All that to say: When you are talking about Right and Wrong – it’s a bit more complex – especially when you add 50 shades of grey.

To discover any shade of any color, you must first know the primary colors. In Bible terminology: You can’t determine what is right and wrong in the grey areas until you know and embrace the primary truths about God. When you know the black and white about God – You have a better chance of discerning the grey. 

Here are 3 of 7 primary truths about God as seen in the Bible.

 1.    God does not promote bondage. He promotes freedom. There’s nothing grey about that? Not a freedom that allows a person to do what they want but a freedom to do what is best for all. A message for all who live in America to fully embrace. Gal 5:1

2.    God does not ‘take advantage’ of weak, weary, young, vulnerable people. He ‘gives them an advantage’. There’s nothing grey about that! While the evil side exploits people for their own personal gratification – God elevates people to a place of value, honor and significance – deserving respect. Ps 9:9

3.    God is not one who seduces, deceives or tempts people into doing something inherently wrong. There’s nothing grey about that! James 1:13

There might be 50 shades of grey but knowing the primary truths about God can help you discover the truth about grey areas. Are they good or bad? Are they profitable or unprofitable? Do they lead to wisdom or foolishness? Do they help or hurt? Knowing the primary truths about God will help you know what things are best for you to watch, read, listen to or what activities to do. At least they’ve helped me. I hope they help you. 

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