Shades of Grey

I’ve been haunted recently by a song I first heard on TV before I was 10 yeas old. I used to watch re-runs of “The Monkees” TV show made a decade earlier and loved their music, but “Shades of Gray” stuck in my head.

When the world and I were young
Just yesterday
Live was such a simple game
A child could play

It was easy then to tell right from wrong
Easy then to tell weak from strong
When a man should stand and fight
Or just go along

But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
I remember when the answers seemed so clear
We had never lived with doubt or tasted fear
It was easy then to tell truth from lies
Selling out from compromise
Who to love and who to hate
The foolish from the wise
But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
It was easy then to know what was fair
When to keep and when to share
How much to protect your heart
And how much to care
But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
Only shades of gray

I guess at the moment “grey” seems to be a theme in my thoughts and quiet times. It troubles me. The song – to me, anyway – seems to lament the loss of absolutes. 
I’ve written about absolutes a few times now, and even used the same theme, shades of grey, in titles. But the more I ponder it, the more I see grey creeping in and absolutes being washed away.
Jesus didn’t talk in shades of grey. There was no grey area to Him. Two destinations after death on this earth: Heaven or Hell. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. He didn’t sugar coat the pills he gave out, He never pulled a punch.
I’ve been reading about first century Palestine’s culture from various sources recently and a few things made me see Jesus basically went round deliberately picking a fight with the religious leaders with almost everything He said.
Everyone knows the Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along, so the Good Samaritan story is obviously targeted at the self-righteous. What I’ve learned, if it’s accurate, is that some of the other instructions He gave forced the religious leaders into a corner.
Turn the other cheek is often said as a reason for Christians to be pacifists. A little research has suggested to me that at the time of Jesus it was lawful only to strike a man on the cheek with the back of the right hand. Offering the other cheek would force the assailant to either engage in a full fight or apologise to the one struck – in either case, the struck man was elevated to being the equal of the one striking him. Similarly, offering your shirt when your cloak had been demanded would result in nudity, and the one demanding would be forced to beg to not take it. In both cases, the assailant and the one demanding the cloak would likely be from the priests, and they would definitely be in the groups listening to Jesus.
He doesn’t spare the Romans either. It was not lawful under Roman Law to force two mile-markers out of a pressed man to carry your pack, so the soldier would have to essentially beg the civilian to let him carry his own pack again – raising the pressed man back to the same level of standing as the soldier.
No grey areas. The stories demonstrate that all are equal before God, regardless of their position in society.
The problem is that 2000 years later, grey is in. And worse than that, those spouting absolutes have twisted them so badly that anyone striving to live a black-and-white life is in trouble.
Consider the political winds across the world. The most obvious absolutist is doubtless Donald Trump and his “Mexicans are drug-crazed rapists and murderers” and “all Muslims are terrorists” positions. I happen to know many Muslims, and I have yet to meet one who felt the need to decapitate me for being a Christian. I have friends in the USA who have Mexican friends who I’m told are delightful people.
The other side of the coin is the PC crowd who want everything to be right and “can’t we all just get along” rhetoric. Frankly, they remind me of the luke-warm church in Revelation and I want no part of them either.
God says be hot or be cold. Black or white. Good or Evil.
I’m English. Very English despite having not lived in my homeland for over a decade (and finding to my horror this week my passport has expired – oops). I drink tea, not coffee. Granted an argument could be made that scripture says you can drink any deadly thing and it won’t harm you, but I’m not risking it with coffee. I’ll stick to tea and whisky!
But when I drink tea it needs to be hot or iced, not in between. I like Scotch neat over ice. I’m not a beer drinker, but when I have cider I like it chilled.
I realise I probably just shocked a lot of readers. *HORRORS* A Christian who drinks!
Yep. That’s me. Not often, but once in a while I like to sit and watch the sun set over the mountain behind my home with a glass of scotch and just drink in the atmosphere of nature, the aroma of the air and the taste of the drink and marvel at the One who designed it.
And thank Him for allowing me to enjoy His creation this way.
PC people make me mad. I tend to get angry very quickly when it’s a talk about being politically correct, especially when Christians are making the argument.
In South Africa at the moment there’s a concept that the Black majority cannot be racists. It’s a behaviour reserved for whites because of the apartheid legacy. In fact, one Black student, studying at Oxford University in England on a bursary from the Rhodes Scholarship was so brazen in Cape Town recently that when his waitress, a young white student, brought him his bill he wrote “I’ll give you a tip when you give us back our land” on it. Google Ntokozo Qwabe to find the full story.
It’s an example of where being politically correct has gone insane. Yes, safety surfaces on playgrounds are essential and will save many kids from getting fractured skulls and broken limbs the way my generation
did (eight stitches in the back of my head at age 7 from cracking my skull on a concrete playground and six hours of reconstructive surgery on my right elbow at age 11 following a bad fall). My brother may have survived if we’d known about safety helmets for cyclists in 1985 – and I cannot possibly stress enough that I do not and never have placed any blame on the driver Robin collided with. Mainly because two weeks earlier he nearly got me killed by doing exactly what the inquest heard he did the day he died. My heart goes out to the gentleman who I will not name here, but we discovered later was a friend of a friend. I grieve for not only my own family’s loss, but the torment he must have endured as well. I pray peace for you, sir.
The latest insanity is the “bathroom” laws. I can’t speak to the transgender issue from direct experience as I have – to my knowledge – never met or spoken to a transgender individual. I have friends who identify as homosexual who know my position Spiritually, but have remained friends nevertheless – and for whom I am thankful to have in my life. Some are single, some not. I can say that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it should not go hunting with the former vice-President, but I would not be comfortable with a 300lb individual with a beard sharing bathroom facilities with my wife.
Quack, quack.
I believe God made male and female and with the Fall twisting everything in creation because of Sin anything is possible. I grew up going to an all-boys school (thankfully not boarding there) and attending ballet classes weekly. I felt more accepted by the girls at ballet for most of the 16 years I spent dancing than I ever did in a sporting arena – especially rugby and soccer. Although I would have LOVED the chance to do boxing at school but it was no longer allowed – too violent. The broken bones, concussions and dislocations on the rugby pitch had to suffice, so I stuck to tennis, badminton and music.
God didn’t make grey. When we read the story of creation in Genesis – actually there are several, but they all have one thing in common – there is no darkness or shadow in God. That comes only after the Fall. And it took nearly a millennia for Satan to kill the first humans created. (there go the evolutionists).
I debated an evolutionist once. His position was that he was descended from monkeys and mine was that I was a child of God. By the end of the debate most of the audience thought we were both right.
Don’t misunderstand my humour. How we came to be made in God’s image is less important than that we are created in His image. If you take the word “image” to represent only the physical form then evolution may well apply, but if we expand that concept to include self-awareness and self-determination why shouldn’t a Creator take one of His creations and endow it with Free Will and “Dominion” – I love that word as the Bible only uses it to describe what God has and what He gave to Man – over the rest of Creation.
I actually love talking to confirmed “Atheists” as they have in my experience rejected a concept of God. The concept they reject more closely fits with the devil than Christ, so when they describe to me the God they reject I agree with them 100% and it completely throws them off guard. They are so used to being Bible-bashed by well meaning by ill-informed people who yes, genuinely want to see them not spend eternity in Hell, that they clobber them out of any possible way they can accept what an accurate portrait of a Loving God the Bible projects.
I get called out on the wholesale slaughter and destruction in the Old Testament, the most common question being “How can a Loving God demand this murder?” The answer is surprisingly simple. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. They were significant cities when Lot went there. They influenced culture around them and part of that culture was indiscriminate sexual activity with all genders and ages. It was in God’s plan that a Virgin would bear His Son. If the cities had been left and their influence continued to spread, 4000 years later (+/-) when Mary was visit ed by Gabriel there would have been no virgins of child-bearing age to carry the Christ. Their destruction was an act of Love – and the Bible clearly says that all will have the chance to accept or reject Jesus. The incarnation took place at a specific time in history, but like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples travel in all directions. In the Fiery Furnace, three men – Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego were cast in, but four figures were seen walking around untouched by the flames, and the fourth was like a Son of God (Daniel 3:25). Yeshua, the Hebrew of Jesus, means “Saviour”. Is it not possible that the man who said “Before Abraham was, I Am” walked with these men who put their faith in Him centuries before?
No shade of grey here.
It’s easy to compromise. We all to it. Heck I’ve been doing it 20 years trying to get this ministry going but looking for reasons I shouldn’t be the one to do it. Each time God has gently (sometimes not so gently) nudged me back into it. The last time was such a jolt it made my teeth rattle, but it woke me from a spiritual stupor I’d been in for several years.
Over my life God has used many gifts through me, but none more than Word of Knowledge. I admit I despise the term “prophet” and refuse to accept it as a title. I generally ignore letters that address me as “Prophet David” so if you feel like writing, just call me David – God calls me David, it’s good enough for me. I don’t even like Mr Beddow! The gift is a burden as I have had times when I’ve been told things about people I love deeply that I have to then help them through and sometimes confront them over. It’s even more scary when it comes about a stranger or someone you only just met and are trying to work out where things will go with a friendship. I actually prefer it when I’m the one being spoken to rather than through.
But it’s black and white. It’s right and wrong, and we need to move away from the madness of the politically correct. We cannot please everyone all the time.
We have a mission as Christians to seek out the enemy and destroy him. Let in light where darkness has prevailed for so long. Give hope where there has been despair.
Jesus Himself said His mission was ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”” (Luke 4:18-19 NKJV) His mission involved seeking out the broken, the imprisoned, the blind and the oppressed and releasing them. This was nothing short of a declaration of war.

I’ll say it again. Jesus was declaring WAR! 

Hardly “gentle Jesus meek and mild” we hear about in Sunday School. I heard the story of David and Goliath dozens of times before I read it myself and found that David actually cuts off Goliath’s head. It’s not something Sunday School focusses on. Half the story results in a shade of grey.

It’s not God’s way. We sanitise the Bible when we teach it these days.

I have a friend who refers to some of his friends as “aquatic Muslims” because they drink alcohol. We laugh about it.

But there are many “aquatic Christians” who water down the Bible to make it “acceptable” in modern society. They turn Black and White into grey.

And that grey will lead to hell.

Without consequences what is the point of change? If shades of grey are acceptable to God then why bother with a Bible of Absolutes? Forgiveness is dependant on Repentance according to Jesus. Salvation without Regeneration is impossible. The so-called “Progressive” christians teach a form of christianity without Christ, citing that all religions draw from the same aquifer – and they do: but true Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a Relationship. The aquifer religion draws from brings only death.

Religion relies on shades of grey. Relationship with God through Jesus cannot abide it.

It’s time to rise up as an Army of God and say “ENOUGH!”

Islam is a false religion. Followed correctly to the letter is it actually a wonderful moral guide, but who wants to be the best sinner in Hell?

I’m a fanatic about Jesus, but I’m that way because I have seen too many of my friends and family die not knowing if they ever met Jesus. I can’t be certain my brother did. I hope he did as he begged to come to church and – unlike the rest of the choir – he paid attention when the minister taught, but he was not quite ten and I was not quite 13, and we didn’t know how to talk about God. We didn’t even know we could talk about God. My dad died in Faith. I was with him, holding his hand and watched him make a choice to go to Jesus because he was ready to. His parents both went in Faith, his mum died while writing a sermon that his dad delivered the following Sunday from her notes. Grandad was praying with family just a few minutes before he went home. Part of me wishes I could have been on the other side to see him arrive – he’d spoken many times of how much he was looking forward to spending eternity with his friend, Jesus. I’m certain nothing in Heaven could have stopped him running to Jesus and hugging him as only Stan could hug!

I get attacked for speaking in terms of black and white, right and wrong. Sin and Righteousness. The World has muddied the waters so much it becomes hard to see where the sin ends and the sinner begins, and we are called to do that. Judge the fruit, not the branch.

So I stick away from hostile environments because I have a temper I struggle to reign in and the warrior-heart in me wants to utterly destroy sin where I find it, in myself first, and to help others to destroy it in themselves by accepting Christ and drawing close to Him.

But there’s one thing for certain…

I’ll never be grey!

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