Like most young people, there was a day when I thought I knew everything. Then I spent some time with a couple mentors quite my senior. I realized those guys forgot more than I ever knew.
From my time spent in the construction industry, I do know that “just paint the walls builder white” is as ambiguous a term as there is. There are hundreds of “whites”, many with various amounts of black in them. Cool whites, warm whites, white whites and some whites that don’t even deserve the name white.
I have also come to realize that even so-called “black and white” individuals actually operate in shades of gray. They may be black and white with your flaws but gray with their own. Or they may apply stark black/white judgments to most people, but definite shades of gray on the very same issue with others.
I used to describe grace as a definite and pronounced line one crosses “into” the kingdom of God, but a vague ambiguous line (clearly known only by God) for anyone slipping back across the other direction. Now; not so much.
People can be so opinionated on issues they see as only black and white. For instance, topics like the gay issue, inter-racial marriage, should Christians drink wine or tithe or use fuzz busters or….. wait. It can get pretty bizarre once you take the parking break off that discussion.
So who’s right? Them of course, they’re always right (whoever “they” are.) The issue is as old as time – or at least as old as Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10.
God’s grace, after all, is bigger than any dilemma I can imagine, it’s extravagant and inexhaustible. You don’t have to pull out your piercings; please just don’t expect me to get one to express my individuality. You don’t have to convince me you’re acceptable because of God’s amazing grace; please just don’t play me for stupid as you try to explain away your choices.
People have been divided for millennia over so-called black and white issues. I know we have kids who barely know what a VCR is, let alone 8 track tapes. I remember growing up with 4 channels on our black and white TV, and remote controls? They were my brother and me. Let me introduce you to one more color than simply a black and white life – Scarlet!
All of these debates and issues and doctrinal borderlines are trumped by the scarlet blood of a spotless innocent lamb, Christ Jesus – Grace Himself. I now see the line is not sharp one way and air-brushed vague the other way. It is defined by the greatest sacrifice of all time, the blood of Jesus Christ that splashed on the ground beneath the cross, once for all.