When a friend recently told me that she saw things as “black and white” it got me thinking. Usually being a Black and White Thinker is considered negative or narrow-minded. Certainly in today’s world it’s far more sophisticated to be in The Grey Zone where we accommodate for a variety of thoughts and justify many scenarios. Inwardly I cringed at my friend’s unwavering ways.
Thankfully the Holy Spirit did not leave me to my own reasoning. The more I considered what being a Black and White Thinker meant, the more I realized this described a Bible-believing Christian.
Grey is Soothing
My husband and I had always shared the dream of building our own home one day. We finally realized this dream last year. While building, there were many decisions to make, and choosing our paint colors was possibly the most overwhelming. One thing I knew, though, from among all the many many choices, we would not paint any of our rooms stark black. And none of the rooms would remain in their primer white. At the end of the day we chose soothing colors, including grey, for our rooms.
While paint colors are often meant to soothe, that is not necessarily the goal behind God’s commands. God is perfect in all His ways; He is holy and He calls us to be holy.
Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:16
This command is stark to my flesh. So are these: Be anxious for nothing…Do all things without complaining and arguing…Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord…Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you…Love your enemies…Repent…
Through Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross, the children of God have been given the power to obey. Through God’s love for us, we now can love Him (1 John 4:19) and are compelled to obey Him because of this great love (2 Corinthians 5:14).
To choose excuses, compromises, and justifications for our sinfulness—to choose The Grey Zone—is to deny this power and this great love.
Grey may be soothing for our walls, but it might also be soothing us right to hell if it is how we view God’s commands, deluding us to believe we’re okay to persist in our ‘justified’ anger, hurt, unforgiveness, disrespect, and other sins.
The Great Ones
Look around at other Christians. Look at yourself. Think about the mighty men and women of faith who have gone before us as documented in the Bible, in biographies, maybe even in your own family stories. What characterized these faith giants? Was it their wishy-washy stances on God’s word? Did they sorta kinda obey Him and make all sorts of excuses when they did not?
Jesus Christ, our fore-runner, obeyed His Father 100% and glorified God in all He did. We are told to imitate Christ; we are given the Holy Spirit; Christ lives in us when we believe. We don’t have a partial indwelling. We don’t halfway abide in Him nor He in us. It’s stark, it’s all or nothing, it’s black and white.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
This idea isn’t a new one. When we try to walk the middle ground, with one foot in the world and one foot in the Word; when we buddy up with the unbelievers around us; when we love the world, we are playing the adulterer. We’re in the Grey Zone and we learn from Jesus that this zone is actually anything but soothing. It’s so sickening that He vomits us out.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The devil is lying to us if we believe that God’s commands are just suggestions, or if we are changing His word to soften it so it’s more palatable, or so it excuses our feelings, our behaviors, our sinful hearts.
This Black and White Thinking may be hard for some. Stark. Clanging to the ears. If this is the case, then it is time to tune our ears to sing Thy grace:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3
Praise God for His great wisdom, His great mercy, His great love!