Jesus did not live in black & white… and it drove religious people mad. They could not grasp His shades of gray, His LIFE, so they did their best to reduce Him, to trip Him up. (How many times did they try it and it never worked?)
If you are afraid of displeasing Him because you don’t fit the church’s black & white thinking, take heart! Jesus doesn’t want you to behave — He wants you to be His!
Look at the black & white picture above on the left. You glance at it and you got it. Two seconds gives you the info involved in this representation of footprints. Done.
Look at the other one. It’s a beautiful palette of gray tones, which give it warmth and life. Can you just feel the soft skin? Those tiny toes? How does God do that? I see those feet and I remember how my own babies’ feet felt in my hands, pulsing with life. Precious. What is ahead in this life, full of possibility, only time will tell.
When I look at the other picture, I got nothing. No life. No curiosity. Nothing.
Jesus is full of life – He is life! – and I am drawn into Him. When I read His interactions in the gospels, I am deeply stirred. He does not come whip everybody into shape. He takes walks with people, tells wonderful stories, drinks wine over dinner, laughs! Good grief, He’s a joy. As I watch Him well up with compassion for people, defend them, bring back their dead children – my eyes fill with tears! What’s not to love? What more could we even want in a Savior? I’m pretty sure that most people who turn down His offer of life do so because they think He is someone other than He is. It doesn’t men it is always easy, but it does mean that it is always good, because He is always good.
That’s what He offers. That’s what makes Him so world-changing, because He’s so life-changing.
Whatever you’ve been told about behavior is of far less importance to Him than you just knowing Him. When you love Him, all else falls into place. I don’t care if you’re LGBTQ, family, ally, or wrestling with any number of issues that face hurting people in a fallen world. We all have issues and struggles and hurts: rules are not going to help you.
My beloved husband and I went through hell several years ago while God did big things in our lives, big growth, big changes. A list of rules was not going to help even a tiny bit. We knew the rules, and they weren’t helping. But the real living Jesus brought out the best in both of us in due time. I would never, ever give up His living voice, guiding me so personally. During that hard time, He told me to be kinder. Love more consistently. Apologize.
No black & white list of rules has the remotest chance to bring out anything decent in me. At all. But He, Jesus, does. He corrects me so gently, I’m always left heartened and hopeful, not like a chastised child. No shame. He continually removes my shame. He did not come to make me obedient — He came to infuse life. I don’t recoil because I’ve failed Him — on the contrary, I want to know Him more deeply, go to dinner with Him, take a walk with Him!
I don’t care who you are. What you’ve done. What you feel you have to hide. Please believe me — there is not a single reason you can’t come to Him right now, in real time. It’s what He does. Anyone who tells you different doesn’t really understand how it works.
C.S. Lewis said, “Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn’t have guessed. That’s one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed.” Black and white, right and wrong is part of every other religion in the world. Only Christianity has Christ. The Very Life of Christ. We couldn’t have guessed that.
In Part III, we will finish our series on “Is the Bible Black & White?”