In our culture, the metaphor that right versus wrong is “black and white” is considered extreme and outdated. For instance, believing that lying is wrong without any regard of context or reasoning is thought to be ridiculous. People even say that believing in absolutes sets everyone up for failure because our contexts are so complex.
So modern thinking suggests that there is a lot of “grey”. What does it mean, that morality is full of grey? The metaphor usually means that everything is relative. Nothing is clear and absolute. A little white lie, for example, isn’t considered wrong if it is spoken to spare someone’s feelings.
The color grey is made by mixing different amounts of black and white. That means mixing a little wrong in with a lot of right, or a dash of right in with a bunch of wrongs.
It’s no wonder that we are eager to embrace the concept of grey morality. The ruler of this world- Satan- is famous for appealing to us as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He mixes the temptations of evil in with strands of good, distorting the truth (Acts 20:30).
Jude 1:4 warns us:
“Certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (emphasis added).
Though we are inundated with the idea that our world is full of grey from the time we are young, we have to stand on the truth. There is God’s way, which is right. Then, there is every other way, which is wrong.
Our circumstances may be grey. General culture may be grey. These things lack the option of morality. But believing that morality is “grey” actually sets everyone up to fail, because it indicates that there isn’t ever a really good option. The decisions that we make, the intentions that we have, and the actions that flow from these are always black and white in the sight of God, because we always have an option to choose righteously.
It’s intimidating to realize that we are indeed accountable in a world full of lies and tricks and temptations. It seems unfair that in the midst of a very muddied, grey world, we’re constantly having to strain glimmers of light out of the fog. But here’s the good news:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Our Lord hasn’t set us up for failure. Knowing His own strength and love for us, our Lord didn’t lower the standards to make us acceptable. He lowered Himself and lifted us out. His way sets us apart and purifies us from the gripping stains of this world through the blood of Christ. The gift is free to all who repent and come to Jesus. He even sends the Holy Spirit to guide us!
There are no terms, conditions, ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Wouldn’t it be sad if that truth weren’t so black and white?