“You know, there is nothing greater than deciding in your life that things maybe really are black and white!”
–Drew Baylor, Elizabethtown
When I was a child, I thought of everything as black and white. There was clear right and wrong, justice and injustice, in or out. Unfortunately this attitude tended to spawn harshness and judgementalism in my little Pharisaical heart. Morality existed cogently, but the grace of God hadn’t gripped me yet. I began to realize that my heart posture was wrong.
Early in college, I started questioning this “black and white” worldview. I waded into the murky waters of questionable theology, allowing “right and wrong” to be flexible in certain circumstances. I listened my Christian friends from high school explain to me their new, liberated views on sexuality outside of marriage. I read books about how God wants us to feel loved and happy. I started believing that God wants us not to judge anyone for any reason and that Christianity is about never telling anyone they’re wrong. I watched the news and listened to the radio and started wondering if maybe I’d been wrong all along and things are actually quite gray. I also genuinely believed this “questioning” was liberation from my “black and white” judgmentalism. Now that I was free to think for myself about these issues and not have a religious institution, and especially not an ancient document written for a different culture at a different time, do the thinking for me, I could finally be okay with myself and at peace with the world.
After a series of events leading to God’s grace gripping my heart, I started actually reading the Bible. And you know what’s funny? It is black and white. There is right and wrong, justice and injustice, in or out. Life is exactly as black and white as I thought it was when I was a child and the answer to all of life’s problems is both glaringly obvious and paradoxically simple:
We need a Substitute.
The Gospel has brought me full circle. My heart posture was wrong, but the answer was not to compromise and question, it was to fall back on the seemingly childish truths of scripture. I am a sinner; God sent Jesus; He died for my sins; now I’m called righteous. Questioning biblical morality is not freedom from judgmentalism – grace is. A small God who serves my whims or current circumstances is not liberating – a big God who sovereignly controls everything is. We are wrong and God is right, it’s that simple. And incredibly, He provides the answer.