Friday, January 25, 2013

The Two Ditches

Source: Lloyd Kahn
It’s probably no surprise to anyone that our flesh tends to run to extremes. You’ve heard about the “pendulum swing,” I’m sure. People take one extreme position and then realize that it is wrong. Then to combat the first extreme position, they tend to swing clear over to the other side, only to find themselves in another extreme position on the opposite side. This is what I refer to as the two ditches.

As I observe Christianity, I find this more and more to be true. The crazy thing is that we never admit that we’re in a ditch. We’re not on the straight and narrow. We’ve veered off. Instead, everyone presents himself as balanced and biblical; everyone presents herself as holding to truth. Yet it seems we have both sides looking to shoot holes in each other’s positions or stands, or lack thereof.

Group One will proclaim that they are “defending the faith once delivered.” Group Two points out Group One’s double standards and hypocrisy. Then Group Two will jump on the word “liberty,” and Group One points out that they’re using liberty as “an occasion to the flesh.” While both sides are holding their ground, they truly believe the other is missing the point.

Group Two complains that the other is too dogmatic, while they are being accused of compromise and not having any convictions. Group One will complain that they are falsely attacked, all while they attack the ones they claim are attacking them.

In Luke 18:11, we see a picture of a crowd that prays like this: “I thank Thee that I am not as other men are.” This crowd is very proud of their holiness and religious actions. We all point to this Pharisee and bewail his hypocrisy. This crowd continuously criticized Christ and his disciples, even for eating with unwashed hands.

In today's economy, with our religious crowd, it seems that nobody is as holy as they are. But notice something else with me. In Luke 9:49, the beloved John saw a man casting out devils in the name of Christ, and this beloved disciple who was often found leaning on the breast of Jesus, rebuked this man because he was not running in their crowd. Then a few verses later (verses 53-54), when Jesus was not received, those who had the most intimate relationship with Christ were seeking to call down fire from heaven on those who didn’t receive the One with whom they have this relationship. Again, in today's economy, it seems as if the crowd that emphasizes intimacy and relationship with the Lord (with which crowd I would identify) tends to be just as harsh, even while they may not realize it.

We see two groups of people in Jesus’ time: One group of zealots and another group walking with Liberty Himself, yet both seemed to have the same kind of spirit towards those with whom they didn’t agree. We never want to identify ourselves with either of these groups.

If you find yourself entangled in arguments and disagreements, rather than simply living the difference that a yielded life to the Holy Spirit creates, I’m afraid you may have to admit that you’re in a ditch!

There is a straight and narrow way between the two ditches, but “few there be that find it.” May we learn to yield to the Holy Spirit and live the difference that HIS life creates.

1 comment:

CTLS said...

I've been in the ditch. Most of my life, I tend to run off on the right. But, though it was on the right, it was a ditch. It's hard to maintain the speed limit in the ditch.