Dig Deeper: How Grey Are Grey Areas?

What is a grey area?

There are some things that the Bible does not discuss in depth and explicitly define as good or bad. Is gambling wrong? Does shopping for clothes mean that I’m not stewarding my money well? Can I pierce my tongue/eyebrow/belly-button? While the Bible does not give us specific instructions to follow on all and especially modern-day matters, it does give us a clear understanding of God, His Kingdom, and therefore our identity. As we look to the Word for the truth about how we are called to live, we are empowered by its wisdom to make decisions that are God-honouring and others-loving. The following two questions can serve as perspectives to consider if you find yourself stuck in a grey area.

The antithesis of faith is not doubt but indifference. Put differently, the danger is not in doubting, but in the movement toward apathy. Doubting enters the ‘danger zone’ when its effect diminishes your desire to engage with God. As such, you may allow doubt to visit your mind but be sure to ban it from becoming its ruler.

Who am I becoming?

The word “Christian” comes from a Greek word that means “little Christ”. Our time on earth is meant to be spent reflecting Jesus to those around us, most evidently through our conduct. As we learn more about Christ, we are to endeavour to imitate Him in every aspect of our lives. As Paul says in Ephesians 5:1–2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (ESV).

If you are caught in a dilemma and you’re not sure what’s right or wrong, start by checking your heart and your understanding of Jesus’ character. Will this decision lead me to look more like Jesus, or will it make me look more like the world?

What am I enabling?

Many Christians hold different convictions toward issues in the grey area. While the Bible may not always be clear about whether a particular act is forbidden, it is clearly against causing a fellow believer to sin. We are obliged to keep our friends from sinning. Messages in the media encourage us to make decisions based on deceptively positive ideas, like the sanctity of personal rights or the pursuit of whatever makes us happy or fulfilled. However, a number of these ideas are inherently selfish. The Bible teaches us quite the opposite; it teaches us to “value others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3).

For example, is it wrong to watch a movie or listen to music that you downloaded for free? The Bible doesn’t say, but if you did so illegally, chances are you are enabling those who uploaded them to illegally profit from work that is not their own. This steals from the copyright owners of the movies or music, and belittles the efforts put into producing these artworks.

Romans 14:19 lays out a fundamental principle for us: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” When we navigate through grey areas, let us make decisions that will honour God and respect others, so that in doing so, we enable those around us to do the same.

Hannah Leung
Upon graduation, Hannah invested some money and a lot of time into picking up a new skill — sewing. She has since become her family's alteration master.