Summary: Love and sacrifice should be the guiding principles when we deal with ethical questions that abide in the gray areas of life.
Living in Shades of Gray
I like black and white. No, not the racial thing, but questions that have yes or no answers, those questions that are either right or wrong. It makes life simpler, and Lord knows, I could use a simpler life. The Bible is really good at that in some respects, like with adultery. The Bible doesn’t leave much room with adultery. Adultery is sin. You know, one of the big ten and all, and we could go on down the list: murder, covetousness, stealing. The Bible is pretty clear on things that are right, too. Things like honoring God, honoring our parents, honoring the Sabbath.
It would be very nice if life were that simple, but you and I both know that we are faced every day with situations and circumstances that are not always so black and white. A man who had been a Christian for several years told a pastor that his favorite form of relaxation was smoking pot.
The pastor said, “Do you see a contradiction between Scripture and smoking marijuana?”
The man said, “No. In fact, Scripture allows it.”
The pastor replied, “How do you see that?”
The man said, “Genesis 1:29. God says, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
Now the pastor had him: “It says ‘for food’. You smoke marijuana; you don’t eat it.”
“You haven’t tasted my brownies,” came the man’s reply.
We live an inordinate amount of time, not in realms of black and white, but in a land painted with varying shades of gray, and it causes us no small amount of confusion when we wrestle with all the questions that seem to draw their life in those shades of gray.
What are some of those gray areas I mean? Let’s take movies as an example. Some people struggle with whether or not they should go to the movies, or if they can, what kind of movies should they go see. Alcohol is another one of those gray areas Christians disagree upon. Why, would you believe some churches even serve real wine at communion? And, there are other Christians who think those Christians who drink alcohol are not Christians at all. In certain circles, if you are a woman who wears make-up, enjoys playing cards, and goes dancing every Friday night, you might even be the incarnation of evil itself.
Pastors get questions every holiday that rolls around concerning whether Christian should celebrate. From Easter to Halloween to Christmas the questions abound. Should we have Santa Claus? Should we put up a Christmas tree? Does the Easter bunny make an appearance at our church? Do we even let the children hunt Easter eggs? About the only holiday most of us agree on is Thanksgiving, and even that one has become so totally secular. It’s about football and feasting, not giving thanks.
Then, of course, there is the question of culottes. You know? Is it all right for women to wear pants, or for men to have long hair? And just to think, we haven’t even mentioned the issue of tobacco. This is, after all, Louisiana, and how could we talk about gray areas without mentioning gambling and the casinos? The questions are endless.