Right, Wrong, and Holy: A Journey Beyond the Binary Through The Lens of Jesus

Rev. Bradley Swire   -  

In our ongoing exploration of what defines a hero, we delve into the complex tapestry of right, wrong, and the transcendent concept of holiness. The iconic figure of Spiderman serves as a poignant entry point into this discussion. His journey from a passive bystander to a beacon of justice, spurred by personal tragedy and encapsulated by the axiom “With great power comes great responsibility,” mirrors the Christian call to wield our inherent power—our faith, our actions, our voice—for the greater good.

This narrative forces us to confront the often blurred lines between right and wrong. Scripture, while a bedrock of moral guidance, presents us with challenges that go beyond the clear-cut directives of the Ten Commandments. Consider the words of Matthew 5:44-45, urging us to love and pray for our enemies. Such teachings push us into the murky waters of moral ambiguity, where the right course of action isn’t always inscribed in stone but demands a deeper, more nuanced understanding.

The stories of Robin Hood and Rosa Parks exemplify this tension beautifully. They remind us that sometimes, to uphold justice and righteousness, we must step outside the boundaries of societal norms and regulations. This raises the fundamental question: Why do we have rules? While rules aim to ensure fairness and order, as seen in the structured competition of the Olympic Games, they are not infallible. When rules become instruments of injustice, discrimination, or abuse, it’s imperative to question their origin, purpose, and the interests they serve.

The episode from Mark 2:23-28, where Jesus and his disciples pick grains on the Sabbath, exemplifies the divine principle of placing human need above legalistic adherence. Jesus wasn’t merely challenging the Pharisees; he was inviting them, and us, to reevaluate the spirit of the law—to recognize that the heart of divine law beats to the rhythm of grace, compassion, and human dignity.

Jesus, often seen as a rule-breaker by the standards of his time, was in reality redefining the parameters of righteousness. His actions and teachings weren’t about undermining the law but fulfilling it in a way that emphasizes the essence of our actions over their mere legality. The cross, a symbol of ultimate sacrifice and divine love, stands as the most profound testament to this. Jesus didn’t embrace the cross because it was the “right” thing to do; he did so to demonstrate the power of divine love to transform even the most profound depths of human suffering and despair.

As followers of Christ, our call transcends the binary of right and wrong. We are invited into a life of holiness, a journey that aligns us with the heart of God—a heart that beats for justice, love, and the restoration of all creation. This holiness is about embodying the purity, innocence, and transparency that reflect God’s own character, as we navigate the complexities of life.

To live a holy life is to engage deeply with the world around us, beyond the confines of safety and convention. It’s about breaking barriers, building bridges, and embodying the kingdom of God in every word, action, and relationship. Jesus didn’t teach us to merely follow rules; he taught us to transform the world through the radical, self-giving love of the gospel.

In a world obsessed with defining actions as either right or wrong, Jesus invites us into something far more profound: a life of holiness. It’s a call to live in a way that reflects the pure, open-hearted love of God, to be restorers of all good things, and to be bearers of hope in a world yearning for redemption. So let us ask ourselves, what would it look like if we truly lived like this? How can we embody this holiness in our daily lives, in our communities, and in our world?

In this quest for holiness, we find the true essence of what it means to be a hero in the Christian sense—not by merely doing what is right or avoiding what is wrong, but by living in a way that reflects the pure, transformative love of Christ. Let us then strive to live not just within the comfort of our own convictions but as agents of divine love and grace in a world that desperately needs it.