The term, “cut and dried”, is a term first used to describe an herbalist cutting and drying herbs and then packaging them for sale. It was also used to describe the process of cutting, drying and bailing grass into hay bales as a final product. The term has come to mean the conclusion of something. A done deal. No further action is required.
Some people want a cut and dried faith. They want an end product where no further action or thinking is required. There are a few absolutes that are cut and dried issues in our faith, but not many. Some of what we consider as a cut and dried is actually up for an honoring debate.
One person cites a verse that says to never answer a fool according to his folly as an absolute one-size-fits-all way of dealing with foolish people. They forget the very next verse in Proverbs 26 instructs us to answer a fool’s folly. There are times a fool needs our silence. At other times they need a strong rebuke. It is not as cut and dried as we thought.
Those who preach a single approach to self-protection and non-violence will quote Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount where He tells us to turn the other cheek. They forget Peter carried a sword and used it to whack off Malchus’ ear. It wasn’t a time for a sword or for a violent response, so Jesus told Peter to put his sword back into its sheath. Jesus did not tell Peter to get rid of his sword.
It is also conveniently forgotten that in the same discourse where Jesus said to turn the other cheek, He also said if you look at something unhealthy gouge out your offending eyeball or if you touched something you shouldn’t touch to cut off the offending hand. I noticed some who preach a one-size-fits-all turn the other cheek response to a personal assault still have both eyes and hands and every other appendage fully intact. Maybe Jesus wasn’t providing an absolute for these situations. It is not as cut and dried as we thought.
People who preach that submission in a marriage is the sole responsibility of a woman forget the verse just before the out-of-context command that a woman “get in line behind her man,” where Paul writes, “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” When was the last time you heard a message on how a husband can submit to a wife in a marriage? It’s not as cut and dried as we thought.
This kind of talk will make some believers nervous who have been taught a domino theory of faith. They believe if one cherished misunderstanding falls the whole system of their faith is in jeopardy of collapse. They get defensive of the indefensible. If you step out of line with a domino mindset, you become suspect and find yourself orbiting some of your former relationships from the outside. That irrational fear is your first indicator that something is wrong with a cut and dried approach to Scripture.
In all of your Scriptural exploration, make sure your faith is grounded in the person of Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus will always reveal the Father. Once you see the Father a lot of what people fight and divide over will no longer matter as much because you will have discovered the heart of God. Knowing the heart of God is your single most powerful interpretive tool when trying to understand something as diverse and multi-faceted as Scripture. Somewhere in your study, you will come to realize an authentic life of faith is not as cut and dried as you first thought.