Beware the Pendulum
We have a problem. The problem is how we correct problems. What do I mean? Well, have you noticed how when we see a problem in our Christianity, we usually try to correct the problem? That’s not the problem. The problem is that we tend to overcorrect when dealing with the problem. In our zeal to have a more biblical and faithful Christianity, we will often label something as “bad” even though we probably just needed to reign that thing in a bit.
For example, until recently, sex has been something that Christians don’t talk about. Not to teach our children, not in communicating with our spouse, not in understanding it from a biblical perspective in a church setting. Yet sex (in the context of marriage) is a gift. So how did it come to be viewed as dirty, taboo, or just something you simply don’t talk about? I believe that somewhere along the lines, the church recognized that despite the Apostle Paul’s many warnings, sex was still being abused and perverted inside the church. Thus, it was easier to label it shameful and stick the issue high up on a shelf, rarely to be heard from again. But by overcorrecting in this way, the world, rather than the Church, became the authority and teacher and proceeded to corrupt sex even more. What a tragedy!
In this example, a problem was identified. The problem was the misuse and abuse of sex. The correction to this problem would have been to carefully teach what God has to say on the matter and probably to do what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5: Not have anything to do with people that profess Christ and yet deny Him with their lives. This would have been the Biblical solution.
So why do we overcorrect? Because in our fallenness, we often behave like a pendulum. We swing from one far side to the other. We address a problem by going way too far in the opposite direction. Another example of this would be realizing that we’ve not focused on evangelism enough. Hence we proceed to focus all our efforts on outreach and forget all about discipleship.
So I’d encourage you: next time you recognize something isn’t quite right about how you/we are living out our Christianity, slow down. In fact, stop. Stop and pray. Ask God to help you see it from His perspective. Get into His Word to make it a lot more likely that you do. And then seek to correct the problem with patience and grace. You’ll be a lot less likely to create a new problem.
Pastor Matt Daniells