The older I get, the more gray shades I see in our world. An expansion of colors, a deepening of my perceptions, these nuances that make my life richer are a bit astonishing.
It was much easier when the lenses I wear saw only black and white.
Life gets harder when you see things from other points of view. Straight lines get hijacked and carry you off to the unknown. Solid perspectives grow a little blurry and you begin to take a softer view of those you disagree with.
The more I meet people who were raised differently than I was raised and the more I read authors from other places and times and faith traditions, the more I begin to catch a glimpse of how much my view of God, of the Bible, of the world around me is colored by my own place and time and faith tradition.
Just as with every place and time and faith tradition, there is truth to be found and there is misunderstanding. There are many issues of our faith that I have been rethinking and restudying lately, asking God once again to teach me His way.
Issues like the role of women in the church and in the family, homosexuality, how science and the Bible fit together, what the inerrancy of the Scriptures really means. On some of these issues I am changing. On others I remain. Yet on all of these issues and more, as I read and study I realize something that is even more important than figuring out what is right and what is wrong.
No human here on earth is my enemy. We who claim the name of Christ are all trying to love Jesus and obey God’s words. Rather than those who disagree with me being the enemy, being the one who is deliberately misinterpreting God’s words, being the one who picks and chooses what they will believe, those who see things in a different light are just trying their best to follow Jesus.
Just like I am.
Perhaps they are interpreting Scripture incorrectly, but perhaps I am the one who is wrong.
Grace. It is easy to receive and devilishly difficult to dole out freely. I spend so much time wanting to get it right, sometimes from good motivation and sometimes from pride, that I quit looking at the person with whom I differ. I see black and I see white, and the sharp edges of truth keep me from seeing the gray shades of Jesus in the face of the person before me.
It is easier to look at the black and white of an issue, because to see the gray of a person is to see Jesus. And seeing Jesus is always hard. Looking at the face of Jesus has a way of changing you deep down where it hurts.
There is a reason why Jesus said that the most important thing is to love. Loving God and loving people is more important than getting it all right. He didn’t say it was the easiest thing. Most things with Jesus aren’t.
Loving others has a way of hijacking the straight lines of your life and carrying you off to the unknown. Loving Jesus has a way of blurring your sharp edges and softening the contours of your heart.
It is painful and it is frightening.
And those gray shades are beautiful beyond words.