Their hunger to understand was made obvious by their questions. It stirred my soul. “Lord, please speak thru me that they would understand” I silently cried. An explanation came dancing into my mind and began to form in my words. “I got it,” I exclaimed!
Thanks for joining us today for Wednesday’s Word with Kim-Evinda and Trench Classes United. Our prayer today is that this blog opens your mind, that your heart would follow as we navigate through this world-wide pandemic and all its aftershocks.
I have the humble honor of introducing, training and facilitating Transform to two transitional homes, and it has been so good for my soul as I get down in the trenches with these women who are hungry to learn, un-learn and re-learn so as to be all that they can be in Christ.
Our current trench is about the Root of Rigidity – now keep an open mind as I share today 😊 – and we were talking about moral absolutes versus rigid thinking. They were truly struggling to understand the differences, especially in light of God’s Word.
Here are a few examples of our discussion about moral absolutes vs. rigid thinking:
Lying and pride are sins
Prostitutes are immoral losers
Abortion is inexcusable
Homosexuals are going to hell
As we read through the list, I invited them to look at key words as a guide to suggest whether the statement was a moral absolute or rigid thinking.
The conversation that ALL of them [even the super quiet ones] participated in stimulated me and excited me in an indescribable way. But let’s stick with you:
If you’re like most people, you pick out a couple of key words, for example, in the second sentence, we see the word “prostitutes” and we automatically go, oh, that’s a no, no in the Word of God so it must be a moral absolute. In the next one we see “abortion,” and we think, oh, yeah, that’s a sin so it’s morally absolute. And the same with the fourth sentence; we see the word homosexuals and we know what the Word of God says so we say that’s a moral absolute.
Now back to my Trench:
As I listened to their reasons for calling the last three moral absolutes, I was so elated, not because they were incorrect but because it validated this truth: when we stay stuck in black and white thinking we miss grace.
I then encouraged them to look for the one or two words/phrases that felt really condemning. The illumination of understanding began to turn on in each of them, not quite simultaneously as they each processed silently. It was like this domino effect of ah-ha’s and I will carry that with me forever!
Back to you:
While each of those “sins” is a moral absolute, who are we to say a prostitute is an immoral loser. When we say abortion is inexcusable, inexcusable to who? That one really got them and one of our sweet Trenchers stood up and shared about being part of an abortion recovery group and stated had it not been for that group, she never would have accepted Jesus!
And then finally, while the Bible is clear about the lifestyle of homosexuality, it is also clear about Who judges us all. In other words, the way we convey our moral absolutes has everything to do with how they are received.
Jesus says to hate the sin but love the sinner. Do you feel loved when you fall short and someone says, “That was inexcusable!”? I don’t know about you, but when/if someone calls me a loser, that sure doesn’t make me want to check out this Jesus we think we need to defend.
When we project this type of black and white thinking on others, it doesn’t convey love, but condemnation. Isn’t that what we see all over social media? Jesus doesn’t condemn; He convicts, and that’s the difference. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, when I pointed a finger at someone for their “sin,” I saw a few more pointing back at me; in other words, he/she who has not sinned can cast the first stone…
Sin is sin and we don’t get to project our punishment on the sinner. That’s God’s job, not ours. Another beautiful analogy given to me by a dear friend: “We are all different flowers from the same garden.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a flower and thought, “inexcusable,” or, “loser.”
Let us not project labels and punishments on others, but leave that up to the Judge who forgives all sins, the only One who has a camera into our hearts, and remember that the difference between black and white is not just gray but grace.
PS, The only moral absolute is the first one: Lying and pride are sins and Jesus warns us about avoiding the deception that these bring because He loves us. And if you think about it, pride can be a problem when distinguishing between moral absolutes and rigid thinking!