If you’ve studied the scriptures long enough, you should have discovered that there are some stuff that are clear cut black and white; meaning some things are well defined as either good or evil. But then, there are some other stuff that aren’t well defined as either good or evil. These are the grey areas.
These grey areas are usually topics for debates among christian circles, and there are some which most Christians don’t even wanna delve into or meddle with. But then, these grey area issues SHOULD be addressed for the very reason of avoiding negative extremes.
First, let’s settle a fact; anything that is clear cut black and white in scripture is not debatable, regardless of how you feel about it. With that said, the next question is how do we handle these scriptural grey areas?
A good example of a grey area is Christians associating with wine or alcohol. Now scripture didn’t clearly say it’s good or evil, but then alcohol (or wine) has it’s merits and demerits. Getting drunk with wine is a negative extreme (Eph 5:18), but wine when taken in a reasonable quantity (little) is actually good for the health (1Tim 5:23).
Studies have even found that taking some red wine is very good for the heart. But then, as Christians, we can’t really encourage taking alcohol, neither can we discourage it. Regardless of what your stand is on alcohol (whether it’s ok for you or not), be careful not to judge or criticize the believer who allows it (for the right reasons), and also not to look down on the believer who avoids it (for the right reasons), as long as you do it in faith, and please God…cos faith alone pleases God. Anything outside faith would be a sin (Rom 14). If it violates your conscience, then for you, it’s a sin to avoid (1John 3:19-21).
There are a lot of grey areas I wouldn’t want to mention because I don’t wanna spark up an argument or debate here, but it is needful to note that WISDOM should be applied when handling these grey areas in scripture.
There is always the temptation to find oneself going to negative extremes, but like a friend of mine said, it’s not about the alcohol for example, it’s about the handler (or drinker). Some people are addicted to alcohol and they can almost never drink without getting drunk. The wisdom of God to be applied here is to stay clear of alcohol! I personally give this advice to people who can’t help but get drunk.
This is not a post about alcohol but a whole lot of other grey areas, even the very delicate ones. I personally don’t have a problem with taking wine or alcohol (except for beer, stouts and wine with very high concentration of alcohol like gin and spirits). We have freedom as believers but we should be careful not to use it as an excuse to indulge our fleshly desires (Gal 5:13,1Pet 2:16).
And also, we should be careful not to let what we permit get us hooked, thereby taking us to the negative extremes (1Cor 6:12). Wisdom is profitable to direct. You know yourself better than anyone, you know what works for you and what doesn’t. You have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit for understanding.
So the wisdom to apply when dealing with these grey areas are basically the Wisdom of God gotten as a result of your constant association with the Word of God, and an understanding of yourself (your weaknesses/strengths, struggles, etc.). But be careful not to make a law of your own stand on these grey areas. In this context, it’s safe to say that what is a sin for you is not a sin for the next man and vice versa. (1Cor.10:29)
One more wisdom to apply is weighing the merits and demerits. How much of a benefit is it to you? For example, smoking is not even in scripture, not to even mention if it’s good or evil. But we all know that smoking does more harm than good to it’s consumers. Infact, smoking has no single benefit to your health and it’s very addictive, which makes it even more deadly cos it can be killing you as you do it but you just can’t quit (except by the Grace of God).
So if you ask me if smoking is a sin, I would tell you no but it’s 100% bad for your health, so it’s not right. You don’t wanna end up with lung cancer and other chronic ailments, just to mention a few.
I believe almost everyone is aware that smoking isn’t right for them. Moreover, if you know the right thing to do and you don’t do it, then (for you) it becomes a sin (James 4:17).
Let me end by saying; these grey areas shouldn’t be avoided in discussions amongst believers so that we can help each other grow in the body of Christ, and learn how to apply godly wisdom when dealing with these issues that are grey in scripture (or not even in scripture at all).
The more we avoid it, the more ignorant people become about it, the more people live in guilt and shame for something that actually may not even be an issue, and the more people find themselves often at the negative extremes. The key word here is applying GODLY WISDOM, just like Apsotle Paul did in handling some issues God didn’t clearly speak about (1Cor 7:25).