Something that I have heard quite a few people say recently (one way or another) is:
“From a Christian perspective… What should us believers do in _______ situation?”
I have had numerous conversations like this before: should missionaries flee persecution or embrace it? Should a Christian husband use violence to defend his family or country? Is it wrong for a believer to invest in a company on the stock exchange that might be doing business unethically? I am sure you know some as well – those grey areas that we want help with. What is interesting about such discussions is that they rarely produce a satisfactory answer. Often you actually just end up frustrated by the complexity of life and how hard it is to apply general principles to real-life situations. I guess there’s nothing strange in realizing that our lives and decisions don’t fit into neat boxes – its part of growing up. But in another way it does seem very strange to me that we often carry on having the same questions about living “from a Christian perspective…”, even when it clearly doesn’t work most of the time for the many of us who are trying to do so.
When we ask these questions, it is probably because we believe that there is this blueprint for our practical lives – the “Christian perspective” – but the question is, where will we find it? Is it in the bible? If you believe this then you will probably think that a lack of clear answers is due to ignorance – that we just need to study the bible more to find the clear guidance we need. And if you don’t believe that the bible is a manual-for-how-to-do-everything, where will you turn to find God’s will for you? Is it in the counsel of many? Is it common sense reasoning? These are issues that we all face when we need to make tough (and even trivial) decisions.
But where did we we get this idea that there is a specific way that a Christian should act in situations? There are biblical principles yes, but which one should you apply – and when? There are many people who advise you – but who should you trust? Even common sense reasoning falls short when more than one option seems reasonable (or none do) – and besides, when last did God’s ways make total sense to you?
Maybe there isn’t one right answer for all believers in each situation. Maybe some missionaries should stay and others should go. Maybe one day a husband should fight and another day in the same situation he should not. Maybe some believers should invest in a company and others should campaign against it. And maybe, just maybe, there sometimes just isn’t a “should” at all…
How do you go about it?