“If Jesus wanted us to (fill in the blank), he would have said so.”
We hear this argument applied to every controversial topic under the sun — and even some not-so-controversial topics, too. Whenever someone is trying to make a case for a decision they have already made, they call in Jesus’ scriptural silence on the matter as their expert, unimpeachable witness.
And sure, there’s much Jesus doesn’t talk about in the Gospels. But by this logic, we would have to assume that Jesus doesn’t care, for instance, if we drive well over the speed limit (he doesn’t discuss cars and highways in the Bible) or what we do online (he never mentions the Internet or websites at all!), when we know that certainly is just not the case.
Like the scholar of the Jewish law who challenges Jesus to define who exactly his “neighbor” is, we can argue semantics all we want. But if we rest in prayer and look deep into our hearts, we know what path we need to take, and it’s usually not the easy one.
I find that I do this plenty in ways that are far more subtle. I lament that the situation facing me is not sufficiently “black and white.” I become frustrated by the shades of moral grey and toss up my hands, claiming I don’t know what the right answer is, insisting that I can’t be blamed for the ramifications of whatever decision I make.
What I need to be doing in these situations is asking God for His guidance, even if it makes me nervous. I need to be like the scholar. He was brave enough to ask, even though I think he knew he wouldn’t particularly like the answer. Let’s strive for that same courage.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS