Have you ever had one of those billion and one moments in life where you feel kinda conflicted? Where its as though you have both positive and negative things you could say about a topic or idea, and its not as though you don’t know what to say, you’ve just got both?
I’m fascinated by what God is up to in those conflicted moments. When you examine an idea by taking it apart, but are able to discern ehat exactly of all things is the nasty peanut (in your proverbial trail mix). I know that sometimes when we are hurt or under sin, we have the inclination to rely on snap judgments, which seems especially painful and a waste of good things one could appreciate if we could only salvage what good remains. I don’t believe God ever leaves us completely defenseless, but I think what he leaves out can be a reflection of who he is.
Like partiality. God leaves out partiality. Pretend I’m a youth group leader for a second. Odds are, there are some kids I will naturally understand and feel more comfortable with than others. Perhaps there is a gift that I admire about one youth out of a group of his or her peers. Is it fair to be partial towards that person? God sees unique things in all of us, but it’s easy to favor people you most easily recognize and relate to.
It isn’t wrong to have common ground, but it is wrong to exclude others or turn a blind eye to how others in a group may be gifted. If you ignore the sin of partiality, you miss out on what everyone else has to offer.
I once heard discernment being used to describe intelligence, as “an individual’s ability to distinguish meaningful differences”. Although this strange and misplaced leaf of cognitive psychology doesn’t speak necessarily about faith, it is true of faith. When you believe in someone as big as God, you are bound to run into times where you need to test what the Holy Spirit prompts in order to see whether it lines up with the truth. Christians are actively called to test spirits to see whether they bear fruit of the spirit and align with God’s word, which is alive. Unless we are accepting pure and absolute doctrine of any one human (and thus, all the sin that naturally comes with it) as our Jesus, we need to allow ourselves to examine what we believe and why. How can you live in the truth if you do not parse it out and inform your understanding through faith and scripture? Your faith won’t have the roots it needs.
Sometimes I feel like God takes my will and whatever misconceptions I have about his, and splits the difference to line up with a straight and hidden path that I wouldn’t have known was there the entire time. When he restores our lives, he weaves together different threads of us and the world kind of like a french braid and crafts a path out of what already exists. If you don’t allow yourself to stumble into the gray area and doubt, you stay in one place. How can you go to God for healing from doubt if you don’t acknowledge your doubt? If you only have laugh lines for wrinkles, and not those concern notches on your forehead, do you see the full picture of God’s sovereignty? If it was an easy path, we wouldn’t be allowed to choose both it and God. Giving into God allows him to weave a better path than just a ponytail, but it can take some work.
When we are actively submitting and stepping out boldly in faith (as an ebb and flow), we allow the good and the bad to both be what they are, knowing that God is capable. It is a woven way of living that isn’t fully good or fully bad, but human. We don’t turn away from the suffering. We weep with. We don’t ignore the joy. We laugh with also. Being a Christian isn’t about policing other people’s feelings so much as it is indwelling in God’s Holy Spirit of freedom. We are free from a weakness that destroys. We are weak but mot forsaken and loved enough to cover sin. That is the good news everyone keeps talking about.