Thursday, January 5, 2012

Choosing the Better of Two Goods

“Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:27); “Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went” (Ezekiel 12:1).

Apparently extremes aren’t good for spiritual health. If we lean too much on the side of severity, we can become harsh and intolerant; if we lean too much to the other side, we may wind up accommodating wrongdoing without realizing it. Mercy and justice are the two sides of God’s coin, and that coin becomes both a just and merciful standard for our lives. God asks that we merge good nature with fixed spiritual principles, and that will be the stamp, the seal, the coin, for our life.

Dwight D. Eisenhower noted: “People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable. Actually, all human problems, excepting morals, come into the gray areas. Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” The gutters are fanaticism and indifference. It is in the middle where we find the steady people.

Benjamin Franklin said about the gray areas of life: “When confronted with two courses of action, I jot down on a piece of paper all the arguments in favor of each one. Then, by weighing the arguments pro and con and canceling them out one against the other, I take the course indicated by what remains.” There are legitimate gray areas of life when it is a good idea to do this. It’s choosing the better of two goods when two options are equally honorable.

Cartwright observed that “Some flee the cross; others make one.” The middle course is at the foot of the cross.

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