Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Binary Thinking

What is binary you may ask?  

Binary means "relating to, composed of, or involving two things".   In other words, there is no middle ground.  It either is or it isn’t.  The problem however, with binary thinking is that it leads to polarization and a lot of arguing in FB comments :-)

The reason that binary is easy is because there it allows us to be intellectually and emotionally lazy.  If we think in binary ways we don’t explore other options.  Once we pick a side we are sure and we stand there  we become unmovable.   We don’t even ask ourselves why we feel the way we do about it.  It also damages relationships  — which is the absolute opposite of what Jesus called us to do.

I lost a couple of very dear friends because my approach to life as a teen and a young adult was “God said it, I believe it and that settles it.”    What this really meant was “what I have been taught about the interpretation of God’s word is the absolute truth and there’s no need to think anything through.”   I realized in these situations that when you draw a line in the sand it turns into a circle and people are on the outside of that circle only for so long before they walk away … often very hurt.   

Jesus was all about truth — AND he was all about compassion.   This would be a very long post if we were to recall all of the times where Jesus acted with mercy, compassion and grace even during times when the person in question was not living up to the standards and guidelines he set.  He didn’t live a binary life — he lived a life where he could vacillate from one thing to another or sometime even land him in the middle.   

One more thing and then I will stop pontificating.   Jesus didn’t get mad at people very often.   He extended compassion to everyone he came in contact with who was a self-proclaimed sinner.  He gravitated toward them and treated them with extra care.   When he got mad he got mad at the religious leaders — those who practiced binary thinking every day.   He turned tables in the temple and used words like “vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” to describe them.

There are no two words that could be more opposite than justice and mercy.   And yet we are told in Micah 6:8 what it good and what it is that God requires of us.  We are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.   

To me that verse alone demonstrates that we can’t take the easy way out and polarize as Christians — because that doesn’t lead to humility.  And we can’t be binary and act justly and love mercy — because in a binary world those don’t co-exist.

I hope we arrive at a world that is like the song for today.   I know that there are those of you who are reading this who could argue this point and completely disagree.  But the joy of Christian living is that I can love you just as much if you shoot back a resounding AMEN to what I have written as I will if you murmur to yourself, “Claudia, you’re full of crap!” or even post a negative comment.  


Maybe you're not like me
Maybe we don't agree
Maybe that doesn't mean
We gotta be enemies

Maybe we just get brave
Take a big leap of faith
Call a truce so me and you
Can find a better way

Let's take some time, open our eyes, look and listen (yeah)
We're gonna find we're more alike than we are different (yeah)

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary

I'm turning the TV down
Drowning their voices out
Cause I believe that you and me
Can find some common ground

See maybe I'm not like you
But I'll walk a mile in your shoes
If it means I might see
The world the way you do

Let's take some time, open our eyes, look and listen
We're gonna find we're more alike than we are different

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary

What would Jesus do
He would love first
He would love first
What would Jesus do
He would love first
He would love first
So we should love first

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary

1 comment:

Annehueser said...

I wouldn't post a negative comment even if I disagreed with you because I find your devotionals thought provoking. I tend to want to think about what you write even more if my initial reaction is to disagree (which it usually isn't). This is not to say that I always fully agree with you but there is usually something in what you write that at least makes me think. I like that in a devotional.

Thanks for your writing!