Black or white, left or right, conservative or progressive, stay-at-home mom or working mom, donuts or cake—why do I have to choose? Is it possible for me to reside somewhere in the middle, to have my cake (or donut) and eat it, too? Perhaps it seems indulgent to essentially choose it all, but at the same time, I choose neither. The in between is not a popular place to be, but here I am hammering my stake in the ground smack dab in the middle.
When you live in the gray, you possess both the curse and the blessing of truly understanding another’s perspective. Empathy runs high but so does the heartbreak. Seeing all sides of heated topics and debates leaves you feeling like a distraught child caught between two argumentative, divorced parents whom you individually love dearly. How could you choose between your loving mom and supportive dad? You shouldn’t have to choose at all.
When you walk in the gray, you take both the left’s hand and the right’s in yours in attempt to bridge the divide and infuse both sides with a mutual understanding and respect. God created us uniquely with distinct viewpoints and backgrounds on purpose while also drawing us to Himself so that our eyes could be open to a third way… not “my” way or “your” way, but ultimately HIS way.
When you reside in the gray, you’re in great company. Jesus appeared to be most at rest in the gray. He affirmed God’s commandments while rebuking the law-abiding Pharisees. He worked on the Sabbath, healing those in need, while also reiterating our desperate need for Sabbath rest. He ate with the lowest in society while urging them to embrace healthy, spiritual change. He spent sweet time, communing with the women of his day who were marginalized and punished harshly for their sin. If Jesus walked in the gray, then you can bet I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but there.
When you stop fighting against that third gray option, your eyes open to a world with endless possibilities and love overflowing. When I realized that black-and-white situations were truly rare… that the far left and the far right both get a whole lot wrong… that there are pros and cons in both conservative and progressive walks… that I could be both a stay-at-home mom AND a working mom jointly… that I could happily choose both cake and donuts, life suddenly made much more sense. People are flawed and the best of us will fall. This truth is why the gray is necessary. Sometimes someone on one end of the spectrum will get something oh-so-right, but it won’t be long before he, in turn, gets something else so very wrong. The same can be said about the person on the opposite end. People will be people. We must take this in account before blindly following someone because he claims the same political, religious, or social affiliation as we do. People make mistakes. mark. it. down.
When you unashamedly claim the gray as your own, you are NOT taking the easy way out. If anything, you have placed a wide target on your back for people from both sides to take aim at and fire. But isn’t that how it went down for Jesus? Didn’t his own disciples run and hide, one even about-face denying Him three times when he was dragged away to be brutally murdered on a Roman cross? This was the life of the one and only perfect man who lived and loved and died exceptionally well. If he wasn’t afraid of the gray, then why in the world should I be? I shouldn’t. And neither should you.
For all these reasons and more, I will continue busily typing away for work at home while chowing down on a donut-like cake while cheerily conversing with my dear friends from the right and the left. Living gray in a black-and-white world was exactly what I was made to do. And so were you. Insert fist bump and happy dance here.
Thank you, Jesus, for showing us the gray… also known as “the way.”
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Luke 4:14-15 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
Matthew 11:19a The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Scripture from the ESV Bible. Bold lettering emphasis mine.
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