Very little in this life is what we call “either-or”. I used to be either-or in my younger days while still in the early stages of spiritual maturity. I thought strongly proclaiming my side of an issue and drawing lines in the sand was the mark of a spiritually mature and informed person. It wasn’t. Hopefully, those days are only seasons we pass through and eventually come to a place where we can see the value of another person’s opinion or extend patience to them while they navigate a challenging season in life. I came to realize true fellowship is not about finding people who will come into agreement with my narrow interpretation of reality. It’s about a union of love formed around the heart of God.
The either-or mindset many times reveals a lack of critical thinking, and at times, a lack of love. Some of this comes from deep-seated and unresolved personal issues that motivate a divisive and prideful sense of spiritual superiority. Yes, there are points of understanding that need solid and immovable integrity like the nature of God and the sorrow associated with sin, but not much else is so easily defined as black and white. It doesn’t require spiritual insight or wisdom to point out the flaws of individuals, groups or the Church.
We are all on a journey struggling to understand things beyond our current level of discernment. The unwise want to label that struggle under the either-or banner in an attempt to create an audience for their contrary view of life. It doesn’t take much effort to gain a following hungry for a diet of disgust. Just spend some time on social media. A contrary presence chums the waters of social media creating a feeding frenzy of disdain whenever an either-or mentality is tossed into the dialogue of an online conversation.
What I learned years ago in my journey of maturation was the need for mercy. Mercy invited me to not see the Church or a follower of Christ from an either-or perspective. Mercy required that I back off and allow the Holy Spirit, not my immature criticism, to be the primary motivator for change in their lives. Since that time, I have experienced a lot more peace. I have also been able to see the change in individuals and in the larger Church that I could not see when I was looking through the clouded lens of my premature judgment.