Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:27
The middle road can be so muddy, agreed? but it’s usually where truth is found. Our human nature likes the security of categorizing things as good or bad, right or wrong. black or white.
catagories feel nicely solid, understandable. And while these labels carry some validity we often apply them to complex situations, even to people. It is hard for us to take the middle ground and see a situation from multiple angles. It seems our culture as a whole is having more and more difficulty allowing for opposing views to co-exist. It’s actually quite scary. Where debate and dialogue are prohibited we lose valuable critical thinking skills as well as empathy and the ability to see from anothers point of view.
Dialectical thinking is the ability to hold two opposing views at once and seeing the truth in both. It’s not at all unbiblical. Consider Micah 6:8 A verse that calls us to both justice and mercy. It can be hard to reconcile the accountability of justice with the grace of Mercy, but we are called to both!
To be a middle thinker allows you to hold a strong opinion but consider those with opposite opinions as having some value and seeking what that is. Being a middle thinker allows you to question with curiosity why you do the things that seem to go against your goals. It helps you see and understand competing motives between individuals and even within yourself. To engage in a polarized thinking style immediately places a label of bad, wrong onto someone or something which then shuts down curiosity, empathy and understanding. Middle thinking leads to a compassionate stance. Polarized thinking leads to a judgemental, persecuting stance. Done internally, it leads to deep seated shame.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I am a believer in absolute truth. However, I think we apply it too liberally to our biases, opinions, our religious beliefs, our politics. We become fearful when our own beliefs become challenged and we shut down any curiosity and slap labels on that which we can’t tolerate. Wisdom I believe walks a middle ground holding onto both Justice and Mercy, Grace and good works, death and resurrection, already and not yet, and many other seemingly incompatible truths.
This post has been writen as part of the Five Minute Friday writing challenge. Come join us here