Heartless Right vs. Headless Left

Growing up, Dad often spoke of the “heartless right” and the “headless left” in church world. In his experience, religious conservatives were often right doctrinally, but they struggled to “truth in love” (cf. Eph 4:15). Liberals on the left, however, had the opposite problem in his estimation. They were often loving individuals, but also considered religious convictions to be of little or no consequence. I concede that this is a very general, reductionistic way of looking at things, but that’s for another blog post some other time.

In my experience, these labels have flip-flopped. I’ve known people on the right that should have used their heads a little more often, and I’ve known people on the left who I felt had forgotten how to love. Here’s my point: Developing an “us vs. them” mentality can leave us severely out-of-balance. If your car’s tires are out of balance, you’ll eventually ruin your tires. If your spiritual orientation is out of balance, you’ll eventually ruin your soul. First John has a lot to say about love and truth, reminding us that if we sacrifice one for the other, we likely have a convoluted understanding of both.

I don’t think any of us would stand up and say, “I don’t want to be known as a loving person.” Nor would we say we wanted to be a person known for not using our head. And I certainly know that most of us hate being labeled as “conservative” or “liberal” because such labels are seldom fair. When I ministered in Tennessee, some thought I was liberal, but in Texas, I’ve had exactly the opposite problems. Labels are unfair.

I want to be balanced, and I’m sure you do too. More specifically, I want to be wherever God wants me to be, whether it is on the left or the right. But I don’t want to be headless or heartless because neither glorifies Christ. As a corrective, I have started praying that God would help me love others more effectively, and that he would also give me his wisdom.

I know what it’s like to have to love to someone with whom I disagreed strongly on religious matters. The NT doesn’t give me a “love exemption” on this person. That’s why I need Jesus to teach me how to love those I disagree with.

I also know what it’s like to want to believe and do the right thing, but have so many competing voices vying for my ear. This brother on the right makes a good point, but so does a brother on the left. Taking every thought captive for Christ is a difficult endeavor; Satan is crafty and never rests. That’s why I pray for a double blessing of God’s wisdom.

By praying for God’s love and wisdom to saturate my soul, I’m hoping my life achieves a spiritual balance that glorifies Christ.

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