Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you talked about it passionately to everyone you knew? Was it a product? person? theory? parenting method? political candidate? political issue? biblical conviction? I know I have. I've been riled up about all of these areas at one point or another. And I don't think that's always bad.

sometimes, it is. Sometimes it can cause broken relationships and broken hearts. Sometimes we can put our strong feelings (which we know wax and wane) ahead of the feelings of others. Sometimes it can lead us into legalism or judgmentalism, heaping rules of men onto the shoulders of others. Sometimes we can become so sure of ourselves that we fail to graciously present what it is Christ may be leading us to feel convicted about.

I recently heard a great word about life in general, but it also applies to nearly every issue we consider in life. It is this:

STAY ON THE ROAD. The ditch is wide on both sides.

I just love that, don't you? When you think of parenting, politics, or personal convictions, these are all things that we can get sidelined over. These things become the "gospel," or good news, we are sharing with everyone we meet. And our enemy would love to sideline us either way: by getting us to focus on all the rules we can come up with about a particular issue, or by distracting us from even asking the question, "what is the right thing to do in this area?". The difficult thing is striking the right balance, or staying "on the road".

Thinking of Jesus, He was full of grace
and truth. He did cast out the money changers in anger, but then He also was kind to the lowest of the low. He had virtually no patience for the religious leaders, but He was completely gentle with vile sinners. He turned to Peter and said, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" (How would you like to hear that?), but also washed Peter's feet as a servant. There is a balance, but it is such a narrow place: a place of grace and truth.

It is so easy to fall into a "ditch" on either side of an issue:
  • to be too lenient or too strict with our children-- the hard thing is to find the balance between obedience and grace
  • to be too legalistic or too permissive in our faith-- the hard thing is to be neither judgmental nor worldly in our pursuit of God
  • to be too wrapped up in or totally unconcerned about politics-- the hard thing is to find the proper place for politics in our priorities
  • to be too concerned with the "gray areas" or to not even consider the personal convictions in life-- the hard thing is to feel personally convicted about something without having to criticize others who either (1) feel freedom in that area, or (2) may not yet have been 'pricked' by the Holy Spirit in that area.
I don't know about you, but I want to walk on the road. I often find that I've stumbled into the ditch, but I am trying to become more alert to that big "DANGER" sign.

What are the issues in your life where you struggle to "stay on the road"?


dcrmom said...

Another awesome post, Jess. And I love that quote. So true. I've been on both sides of that road too.

Steph VG said...

Oh my goodness, this is SO me. You described the battle I've been fighting this past year so well - trying to find the middle of the road. I'm a rules kinda girl, actually. I don't always respond well to rules (ha ha), but I like knowing they're there. I like knowing how far is "safe" (and my folks would tell you that I often tried to see how far past the boundary I could get and still be "safe"). But with that, I tend to struggle with legalism - not so much speaking to others about how my convictions ought to be theirs, but judging them in my heart, which is just as bad. I'm trying to learn how something can be a conviction for me, but not for someone else. OR, on the flip side, that someone else can be convicted about something and it doesn't necessarily mean I need to be in order to be spiritual or Godly.

As for specific issues, you name it, I've probably thought it through. But how DO you find a middle-of-the-road balance when you're convinced Scripture says something specific? I don't often hold a conviction that I'm not willing to back up with Scripture. That part's always confused me, and it's why I still fight this battle daily.

Steph VG said...

ALSO...Liked the post so much, I had to blog about it myself. Thanks for the prompting!

Mom said...

Amen to that!!!!! That is my comment, because that article was awesome!! So true! Love you, Mom