Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No gray areas, but grace areas.

"I know I chatter on far too much...
but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't.
Give me some credit."
~Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

So many things pass before my eyes and ears day to day and some create a burning in my soul.  I must not be silent!

Recent descriptions of me by others have often included the word "passion."  A relative (who will remain unnamed) recently accused stated that I was far too black and white.  Well, she didn't really say it like that, but she meant it that way.  And I can't say that I am really all that offended except for the fact that I obviously meet with this person's disapproval in this area (as well as several others, I am certain).  That as she has grown older, more "gray areas" have come to prominence in her life.  I know it is fully possible that I am immature, impulsive and too rigid in many areas.  But even Jesus said, "I wish that you were either hot or cold, but since you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16)  This critic of my black-and-white-ness stated that Jesus was more of a gray-area guy and she proceeded to use the example of the woman accused of adultery (John 8) and how the law was clear but Jesus didn't condemn her.  My response (partly out of pride, self-righteousness and maybe truth) was , "That's not a 'gray' area, that's a 'grace' area.  Jesus doesn't have gray areas, He has grace areas."  I too want to be a woman of grace.  I try to exhibit that with my children.  I appreciate Sally Clarkson's position that we ought to be practicing grace-based parenting, and I really strive for that though my natural black-and-white inclination causes me much trouble in this area.

So, is life to be gray gracious and merciful, or black and white?

In some things, love and forgiveness must reign rather than the rule of law...for the sake of teaching and promoting the loving character of God.  But sometimes, we should never shrink, never compromise, never back down.  In ideals, standards, holiness, righteousness.  Now, I am in no way a master of which scenario is grace-based and which is uncompromising.  I tend to lean toward grace with my kids; with people who have sinned immensely and suffered grave consequences but God has given new life to --- after all if God gives second chances, I ought to as well.

Still I don't think the black and white lines ever blur to gray.  But I think grace supersedes law.  And we need to ask God for wisdom to know how to handle every circumstance and offense.

And we ought to stand firm on those things in which we ought not to waiver:
the one true God,
His institution of family,
loyalty to the country in which He has caused us to reside
(so long as the governing principles of that country are in line with His perfect word).

What do you think?
Are things black and white, and gray?
Or are there no gray areas but only "grace" areas?
My tunnel vision mind can only calculate black and white at the moment.
Enlighten me.  :)


  1. I left a long comment but it wouldn't let me post it so....maybe I'll have time to rewrite it but for now...be encouraged sweet friend...may you never lose your passion for Christ and may you be thankful for all the times your black and white personality has lead you in the right direction and kept you off paths you need not be on. I had a lady tell me she had passion like me when she was my age but that I will grow out of it as I mature...I pray I never grow out of it..another guy told me they were passionate when they were our age but realized the battle wasn't worth it. geez....may we not wither away in our aging and not be passionate people for God's Word & his truth...they are grace areas but we are also called to rebuke, reprove, encourage and discipline. We can't have love without discipline and certainly not discipline without love. I don't believe "gray" areas can bring honor to Jesus. If we love him, we will obey him. I also believe that gray areas come because people aren't in God's Word to know what his commands are. There is so much freedom but that is freedom in trusting Jesus for our direction...not freedom to do what we want and say we are following Jesus. There's one way....Jesus is the way...the Truth and the Life and NOONE gets to the Father except through Jesus...so....no gray for me here...black and white and full of freedom! Jesus doesn't fit in a box around these here parts but it's still black and white. I think it's hard for people who aren't black and white to understand the balance but I'm with ya sister! Peace in following Christ today...take heard, remain steadfast and keep following what Jesus tells you to do....imagine if Joseph wouldn't listened to the community instead of the angel when he was told that Mary was carrying the Christ Child...God's instructions trump everyone else's opinion. Thankful for you. Jennifer Kindle

  2. This is one of Dan's favorite topics. We believe that Satan owns the fence. Regardless of what politicians think, it's true, or it isn't. There is always a "best" answer. Scripture says "Speak the truth in love" (Eph 4:15). Grace does not preclude being black and white. Grace is only necessary because the law is black and white. If scripture tells us to do it, it means there is a way to be loving AND be honest. The older I get, the more I appreciate the friends I have who are great at this. I really love that special sister or brother who will take me aside and kindly tell me that I need to be less selfish or more considerate of others. I guess my conclusion is that I think you can only believe in grace if you believe in the black and white. There is no such thing as "good enough". That's why all the works in the world won't get you into eternity with Him.
    Carolyn Palacios

  3. ‎"He who does not work shall not eat." "All hard work brings a profit but mere talk only leads to poverty." --- These are (in my quick reading this morning) an example of some the kinds of verses that I take pretty black and white. Obviously, if someone is unable to work or genuinely in need, grace must reign and we must meet the needs of our brethren. But we ought not to make excuses and entitlements. "A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again." (Pr. 19:19) --- ...just a few verses that I have applied in recent years in personal circumstances that I think are true. To go against these only creates in the other person entitlement, laziness, and usury. And in ourselves, causes us to be walked all over, miserable (because of constant disappointment) and stressed out...making excuses or being overly hopeful. I know I am so NOT compassionate in this area...so obviously mercy is not my spiritual gift. LOL. But in all honesty, this is a place where I differ strongly with family members. I am a black and white, they-need-to-genuinely-get-it-together-and-prove-it type; while others are a what-if-this-is-a real-change-I think-I'll give-them-every-bit-of-my-livelihood type...only to be burned in the end time and time again. ---- Re-reading this is hilarious to me. You all must think I am a totally non-merciful jerk. That may be true. I'd sure like to know via the Holy Spirit if/where I am wrong in this area.

  4. BTW, I love what you said Carolyn. Grace is only possible because there is the law. You can't pardon someone from a law that does not exist. No gray areas...only grace areas.

    Jennifer, thank you equally for your passion. It is so nice to have a kindred spirit who is equally appalled at the idea of giving up because it got hard. We must not grow weary in doing good..

    Much love!