Where Opposites Meet

The lines are blurred…

2014-08-11 08.11.57…and it is often hard to determine when a photograph might be showing you the early morning hours, versus the late evening hours. Unless you have a compass, or know the terrain, finding yourself on the edge of a location you might be hard pressed to determine if the sight before you is Early or Late.

Morning or Evening.

On one hand they are as different as Night is from Day. But on the other hand their distinctions blur when you cannot find perspective.

This has often given me pause to consider the shift that happens from one perspective to the other. Where does East begin, and West end? With North and South you can grasp the equator as the dividing line. Regardless of direction, lines are blurred when we think about one direction or the other.

Our perspective viewpoint gives us different orientation.

Often I enjoy wandering our property in the late evening and early morning hours. No true light to point out pitfalls, low hanging branches or any other surprises. Just a dim and filtered light that comes from the east or the west. It is easy to get turned around! Without knowing magnetic north, East and West are not easily known. Objects are blurred into menacing , lurking and threatening surprises. In the predawn moments, I have watched shadows shift as an owl flies through the trees, My perspective changes with the simple spread of wings.

When we think about our emotions and feelings about people and life, we often pit one against the other, as in opposite sides of a coin or at the opposite swings of the pendulum. You know, Love vs Hate, Friend vs Enemy, Happy vs Sad. These are generally opposites of each other, yet there is that fine line between the two where they meet in the middle and very easily become one or the other.

Perhaps we gloss over the descriptive words and look for something less destructive. Yet, words are powerful, and the use of words often come from the steady diet of what we feed into our being, and are spurted from what we have on the inside. Our inside feelings, though jumbled they may be, meet at the mouth and the words used are a record of what’s written on the heart.

The Apostle James tells us that the mouth should not be used for blessing and cursing.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (James 3:7-18 ESV)

When caught at the wrong moment, what should be an easy thing to be nice and considerate often comes across as mean and nasty. Even with kind sounding words, the expressive use of tone and features can change the perspective of receiver. What we meant for good can prove mean and sardonic. Perhaps the receiver is crushed by the expression, or they simply understand what is happening at that very moment… Again, it’s about opposites.

In fact, think about who you are, where you came from, and what/who you represent today. You may have had the best upbringing in the world, but when you grew away from who you were as a child at home, other teachers introduce differing perspective and lessons into your life. Who you once were is dampened by who you have become.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.  (Luke 6:40 ESV)

If I take the words of Jesus and let them stand alone then I find value in the concept that a student is trained to be just like the teacher. However, consider his next few phrases.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  (Luke 6:41-45 ESV)

We hear it often: a tweet from a well known person destroys everyone’s image of who that person portends in public; a rant on a stage or talk show brings out the true nature of a person and is often a different image than in their public world of entertainment or sports; a leader being questioned incessantly by reporters lets slip with a poorly spoken word; a ball team owner has a private, yet recorded, conversation and when it is released it shows a different nature to a more conscious world that might not have existed in a prior generation.

Regardless of the example, these are public people speaking their private thoughts in public.

Perhaps the big lesson learned is that we speak what we are even when we temper it in light of the audience. One wrong slip of emotion can blur the lines of what we want to say versus what we actually speak. Even with a slip of the tongue, we leap over the blurred line into an opposite place – even though it might be a true place.

Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

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