I understand that people want to stick to their morals, but perhaps there is more to consider than the black and white of morality, or, perhaps, more accurately stated, perhaps morality embraces more than the black and the white. To most people, morality is appropriately described as discernment between right and wrong, black and white. If the world were so easily separated into two spheres, one white, and one black, and everyone agreed to choose their place and just stay there, how much easier morality would be.
But in the real world, there is no such clear separation of the world into a white and black sphere. Many people remain undecided about what is right and wrong. And even some who think they know what is right and what is wrong, will not commit themselves to do what is right. And there are some few people who think they know right from wrong, and feel this justifies them in compelling that view on others. But most people, I would think, would readily admit that they do not know unequivocally the precise line between black and white in all instances. Some react to this by removing themselves as far as possible from even a remotely questionable wrong. Others charge toward the grey area in hope that by closer inspection they will discern through the obscurity a distinct line nonetheless. What is the proper way to deal with immorality in an imperfect world?
Let us consider Christ in this context. He ate with sinners, he rendered to Ceasar what was Ceasar’s; the Pharisees who sought to discredit him always pointed to evidence of his association with these less pure things as evidence of his corruption. His response to the Pharisees: “The whole need no physician.” Ironically, as we know by Christ’s condemnation of what he saw as Pharisitic hypocrisy, Christ knew the Pharisees were not “whole”, but he also knew that they considered themselves “whole”, despite those flaws which were obvious to Christ. Yes, the pharisees were among those men who hypocritically considered themselves “whole,” who would not touch or associate with any unclean thing. Ironically, just as they were unwilling to reach out to the sinner, so, likewise, could Christ not reach out to them, because of their blind rejection of his humble righteousness. These were beyond his help, their hypocrisy blinding them and causing them to revile against even the Son of God, the only one who could save them from their filthiness. All because, in their minds, he was “filthy by association.” Some might argue that Christ could associate with unclean things, because he was, after all perfect. But do you really believe that men ought not to act where doubt remains? If so, how could man do any good thing, or help anyone? Isn’t this the same premise of the Pharisees, who shunned the sinner along with the sin, and forsook helping them to supposedly save their own soul?
So should we so fear a little smudge of soot while following the Master in a labor of love? How else are we to make better things of those that are worse, or clean things out of that which is dirty? Does not an attempt at these ends require some little bit of sacrifice and tolerance on our part in order to achieve them?
We should take care not to find ourselves so pure as to not touch the unclean thing. Christ, the purest of all, no doubt could have remained in the white and lofty spheres of heaven and never associated himself with this dirty fallen world, but he chose instead to try to salvage what he could and redeem it into white cleanliness. We know the filth he had to endure before he fulfilled his mission. Are we greater than he?