We are living in a mixed up world. I like to call it Binary Living, based on my training in computers. All computer programs boil down to Binary, 1’s and 0’s, another way to look at this is “Off” or “On.” It is from this base that all complex computer programs are written. Unfortunately, Binary living does not work in real life because not everything is black and white. It is really unfortunate when this perspective carries over to our view of others that are different than us. Jesus calls his follows to have a different perspective from our culture!
The Apostle Paul reveals his heart in Romans 9. He had a heart for his people, the Jews, who had rejected God’s truth and the apostle’s ministry. They were in fact some of his greatest adversaries and the perpetrators of the greatest pains in his life. And yet, he did not lose perspective. Listen to his heart, “that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:2–3)
If the Apostle allowed himself to adopt the perspective of culture; he could have retaliated, you know the Bible verse “an eye for an eye,” he could have dismissed them as ignorant, or he could have just written them off and focused on ministering to others. Instead he had compassion on them, because they were spiritually blind to the truth. They acted according to the fleshly nature because they did not yet know Christ. It was their spiritual need that broke his heart for these problem people in his life.
It is easy to live a Binary Life, yet Christ calls his followers to see people that way that God sees them. We need to see them as people that need to hear and respond to God’s truth, as those that need our prayers and love rather than our condemnation. The best way I know to avoid binary living is first to remember that I am no different. The simple truth is I could be just like those that need Christ, had He not worked in my life. And His working took place while I was actively rejecting Him and living for myself! Second, it helps to put myself in the proverbial “other person’s shoes.” I was reminded as a kid that “people that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” I never really understood this saying until I was an adult. It means that we should not criticize others because of similar weaknesses in our own lives. It is only because of God’s mercy and grace that I am where I am today. I can only imagine the kind of person I would have become without Christ. I do know it would not have been a good person! But it is by God’s grace in my life that I am where I am today. I can be a channel into the lives of others, but first, I have to see them like Jesus’s sees them and not through the lenses of culture.
So, do you care about others? Because if you do, you will see a person that needs the touch from Jesus through you!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson