How many of us have felt caught between radical positions on justice issues? This summer, doubtless quite a few.
Whether at work, church, or at the screen of social media screeds, God’s people are being bombarded with words and actions that provoke and shock us, all in the name of remedying social ills. Where do we land?
Jesus has spoken some helpful words to guide us. One of these words is, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
I used to visualize these verses as two divergent paths, with destinations of heaven or hell.
But there may be meaning in this present world too. Think of a broad road bordered on each side by an abyss. Along its middle is a kind of ridge—a narrow way. One black police officer, E. J. Johnson, has said this on Facebook about his position in conflict: “As a black police officer, I found myself stuck in a balancing act from the start, like walking a tightrope right between two perennially warring foes.”
The image of this razor’s-edge path can help us in a time of division and partisanship, a time which may last through election day and beyond in this country. The stakes are high: Jesus said the broad path leads to destruction, and extremism on any issue gives way in both directions to dangerous consequences.
Overemphasis on liberty in Christ will give way to presumptuous license; excess attention to moral behavior drops off into legalism. Extreme fastidiousness about health and safety will make a person a paranoid hypochondriac, whereas ignoring risk will endanger self and others…