Spiritual Practice

Gray Areas

Richard Lawton & Amanda Southall

Some ethical issues are clear: Do not murder or steal. Then there are the what ifs: What if someone was about to kill my sister? Would it be OK to kill in her defense? What if someone was dying of starvation; would it be OK to steal food or water to save a life? Suddenly the issues become rather fuzzy.

My son used to be a piano tuner. His boss, who also sold pianos, wanted him to try to persuade people to buy new pianso instead of tuning their old ones, even if their pianos could be tuned effectively. Jobs were scarce at the time, but my son left that job rather than compromise his values. Would his choice have been different if he had a wife or a family to support? Perhaps.

Although our path may be dark, God promises to light the way and to lead us. Read about the promise in Isaiah 42:16.

Shades of gray make many decisions difficult. Do we allow a tyrannical regime, which is slaughtering thousands, to remain in power; or do we intervene militarily and risk more lives? Do we protect a friend’s feelings by saying that we like her dress, when in fact we don’t? When the options are not clearly right or wrong, I have to rely on God to help me make the best decision.

—Richard Lawton


THINK DEEPER: Many “gray areas,” such as illegally downloading copyrighted music or breaking the speed limit, aren’t mentioned in the Bible. In these situations, instead of trying to be right, I try to be holy, asking myself whether or not my actions would glorify God.

—Amanda Southall

—from devozine (July/August 2006). Copyright © 2006 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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