Monday, March 23, 2015

Why is Everything So Complicated?

Complicated by Avril Lavigne

Why can't everything just be black and white? Why is there so much grey in this world of ours?- CB

Good question
Sometimes life comes at us, hits us and we still don't know what happened. Sometimes we can't understand people, the universe, God or even ourselves. We do our best, but it doesn't seem to make sense- or be the best set of choices for anyone involved. 

So how do we deal with that?  What does that say about our faith, and what does our faith have to say to that?

Sometimes life just hits us, and we don't see the black and white, the right and wrong- we just experience being run over by the truck. Part of that is how fast things are going, and growing, and learning, and sharing and happening. Our great-grandparents would have checked out after 2 of our months- but we keep on going- school fast, work fast, travel fast, vacation fast, rest short, start again. There aren't porches on our houses because we no longer sit on them and watch the grass grow. It has changed. There is no gray in life because life is moving too fast to have shades and colors...

Sometimes, though, we say we want black and white, but only on our terms. My white absolutely doesn't include smoking, but it does include speeding. Your black may include a mix of social faux pas and murder. When each person decides what's okay and what's not, there is no clear black and white. Even people of the same faith have different whites and blacks, and different levels of sin and righteous acts.

The things that came to me today about this, though, is the gray we create out of black and white. I'm not going to argue the details of our varying "rights" or "whites" and "wrongs" or "blacks" with you. 

But I will use an example from my life to explain how we "gray" our lives.
I feel compelled at this point in life to stop speeding. Even there, I will admit to some gray- most people speed. Even here, I am classifying the speeding I feel convicted about to those times when for fun or schedule I go more than 5 miles over the posted speed limit.

I speed. I enjoy speeding- I like, as Top Gun describes it, going "Mach 2 with my hair on fire." I enjoy going around people, beating people to a location, just going fast with the music up. 

But here's how the world becomes more gray. There are sometimes consequences for our actions, even justified. I would say I don't speed with other people's kids in the car, or when it's dangerous, or without being polite to all the other drivers. I would say it's just me, and even the danger is only on me. But I'm wrong. Even "private" things affect your attitudes, perceptions, how you see others and their words, lives and actions, and how you feel about yourself, God and others. 
For example:
- Friends have seen me speeding by and commented on it. It becomes gray when I have to explain, defend or rationalize something I chose to do knowing it wasn't "white." 
- I have friends who are policemen and deputies. If one of them were to stop me for speeding, what would I say? 
- I have a fear response when I see police cars- whether or not I am speeding, because at times I do speed. 
- I am tempted (although I usually don't give in) to pray for God's protection on my law-breaking. And when you start saying those prayers, you make promises and pray in ways that don't build your relationship with God in healthy ways.
- Because of this, I have an emotional trauma- guilt- when I speed. When experiencing guilt, I am also more likely to judge and/or make comments about other peoples' failings- guilt response. 

So- for say 15 minutes in a 3 hour drive, I do all of this, and put up with all of this? In the end, it's not worth it. But I have taken a simple, easy-to-follow rule, and added gray, if not black, to my life. 

That's my stuff. I don't know what attitude, habit, way of dealing with people, stress, conflict or relationships you allow to "gray up" your life. But I think we can avoid some of that by simply doing what we know to do, and avoiding what we know not to do, no matter what we "think" or "feel" about listening to the wisdom of our God, society, church, family and friends. Makes the world more black and white, don't you think?

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