…Some Choices May Be Blacker Than You Think.

There is a way that seems right to a person,
but eventually it ends in death.

(Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25, GW)

Recently, while on Facebook, I followed a link to an article about jewelry made from human embryos. It was mortifying to me that not only is someone marketing such a thing, but that people think it is a good idea! The author of the article, Abigail Dodds, did a terrific job of exploring the morality—not only of turning frozen human embryos into wearable art, but of Christians resorting to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to have children in the first place. See for yourself at http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-horror-of-human-embryo-jewelry.

It got me thinking. There are a lot of “grey areas” in our world today. I looked up that common figure of speech online, and here are some definitions I found:

  • An area intermediate between two mutually exclusive states or categories, where the border between the two is fuzzy ~Wiktionary.com
  • An undefined situation or subject that does not seem to conform to known categories or rules; an intermediate area or topic that is not clearly defined ~Dictionary.com
  • An area or situation in which it is difficult to judge what is right and what is wrong. ~Merriam Webster

Science and technology have introduced a lot of these moral conundrums to our society. IVF is one of them. So are genetic engineering, cloning, pharmaceuticals, life support systems, and so on. We have reached the point where men and women are able to do things few ever dreamed of. The Bible doesn’t mention most of these scenarios; therefore, there don’t seem to be any clear guidelines for how to deal with these “grey areas.”

Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 warn us that often things that seem okay to human beings are death traps in disguise. The Bible gives some examples of this:

  • Adam and Eve thought they were eating the forbidden fruit to make themselves smarter, but they actually brought confusion and opened a can of worms that humanity is still choking on today (Genesis 3; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
  • Abram and Sarai had not been able to conceive the child God foretold, so they thought they’d help Him out by going the route of a surrogate mother. Instead of the child of promise, they wound up with Ishmael, whose descendants continue to make trouble for the children of Abraham to this day (Genesis 16).

I think a lot of our problem is that we get impatient. Things don’t happen the way we think they should, so we look for ways of getting around the roadblocks in our paths. I have been guilty of kicking down closed doors and crawling through windows to get where I want to go, rather than waiting for the Lord to direct me along the paths He has ordained, to get me to the destinations He has in mind. God has His reasons for making us wait or having us take a detour we didn’t anticipate. When we choose our own path, we may miss out on opportunities or blessings we can’t obtain any other way. We may also wander directly into a dangerous situation that could have been avoided.

I know of a woman who desperately wanted a little girl. After several miscarriages, she decided to try IVF. The hormones messed up her body and wreaked havoc on her emotions. Producing so many eggs at once for the procedure was excruciating. Most of the eggs fertilized by her husband’s sperm were in-viable or genetically undesirable, so they had to be destroyed—dozens of tiny humans. Only a handful were good enough, and all of them were male, so she didn’t even get the baby girl she wanted. The drug therapy required to keep her pregnant messed her up even more. And she ended up spending most of her pregnancy in bed. Her postpartum depression spiraled into alcoholism, and she is still struggling to this day to care for an infant who has been frequently ill.

When scientists developed genetically modified corn, they were just trying to create a disease- and insect-resistant strain of this staple crop. They patented their seed and made it so that farmers cannot grow crops from what they raise; they have to keep buying the hybrid corn or face lawsuits. Even those farmers who are trying to raise corn from heirloom seed and are planting part of what they harvest are finding that the airborne pollen from genetically modified corn is infecting their natural crop. They, too, are being sued by the seed companies. Meanwhile, more and more people and animals consuming GMO products are suffering from allergic reactions and other maladies.

Romans 14:23 says, “Anything that is not done in faith is sin” (GW). If you’re not sure something is right, then it is most likely wrong. When we compromise with the world and what it values, we put ourselves at odds with God and one another (James 4:1-6). When we follow our own desires and impulses, we wind up on a collision course with self-destruction and death; when we do what the Holy Spirit says, we put ourselves in alignment with God’s will and His blessing (Romans 8:1-13). 1 John 1:5 and James 1:17 tell us God is Light, and there are no “grey areas” with Him. We only kid ourselves, if we think we belong to God, but we habitually traffic in grey areas (1 John 1:6). “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (v. 7, NIV).

In the New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 instructs us, “Avoid every kind of evil.” According to Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, the word, eidos, can be translated view, form, appearance, fashion, shape or sight. That’s why I like the old King James Version, which says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” If it looks bad, it probably is bad, so stay away from it.

While it may seem like our forays into grey areas are harmless, the truth is: Every step we take “into the grey” takes us closer to the darkness and away from the Light. I want to do what is pleasing to the Lord, that which draws me closer to Him and His perfect will for my life. That’s why every day I seek His light in God’s word. Every day I pray, like David:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

(Psalms 139:23-24, NASB)

My prayer for you is that you will no longer venture into grey areas to see what you can get away with, to sample those things that seem undefined by traditional morality. Instead, I hope you will trust God to lead you where and when He wants you to go. Study the Scriptures, which Psalm 119:105 describe as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (NKJV). Let the Holy Spirit guide your intentions, words and actions every day and every step of your way. Stay out of the grey and walk in the Light!

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