To the extreme...
“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good spirit lead me onto level ground.” Psalm 143:10
Balance is in short supply these days. People tend to move to separate corners refusing to look towards the center. Jesus taught to be wise and gentle. Paul taught to bear one another’s burdens while bearing our own. Balance is key to living the Christian life effectively and successfully.
Regardless of which side we are on, if we refuse to look towards the middle – level ground – we will always be off balance. When is a see saw level? When its riders adjust themselves balancing their own weight.
I want to share a story with you. The story is a conglomeration of many lives and many experiences. (In other words, don’t try to figure out if I am talking about you or someone you know.)
She always felt like the outsider. Regardless of how hard her friends tried to embrace her and love her; she couldn’t shake the feelings of being different. She felt compelled to stick with them so that she could be a “witness.” After all, her spirituality was much deeper and much more biblically sound than theirs. Yet, she always felt judged.
She tried her best to fit in. She tried her best to be with them and laugh with them. All the while, in her heart and mind, she never felt part of them. She was different. It wasn’t a matter of feeling. It was a fact. They simply did not have her moral compass. They didn’t see things as she did. They were sinners. Backsliders. She could no longer be around them without feeling like she was wasting her time. She’d made decades of attempts, but they didn’t change. Her witness was wasted, in her mind.
She walked away. She ended lifelong friendships and childhood connections because they refused to come around and value what she valued. The friendships ended. All communication shut down.
With time, she discovered what the others knew all along. It wasn’t them that kept her from fitting in and enjoying herself. They never judged her. She judged them.
Extremism on either side never brings balance. We can believe with all our heart that we are right and that the other side is wrong, but until we join hands and face one another all we see is our differences. Love cannot thrive where extremism rules.
His Spirit is good. His Spirit is balanced. He can and will teach us to live on level ground. The question is: Do we want to?