When Is It Time To Jump Off the Fence?

Last week I talked about my tendency to stay on the fence with hot button issues. Are you the kind of person who gets annoyed by people who refuse to pick a side and leave the fence? This week I want to, in a sense, both counter and complete that thought. Are you the kind of person who wants to wait to commit until you’re absolutely 100% positive it’s the right position? There comes a point where enough is enough and a decision must be made. When does that time come? Maybe we can figure out, when is it time to jump off the fence and pick a side?

What are the Consequences of the Issue?

As Christians, we always need to keep things in perspective. Is this issue so important that it’s worth making a part of myself? With an issue like the age of the Earth, I tend to be very non-committal. As much as the topic interests me, it ultimately has very little consequence on my life. Whether or not God made the world in 6 literal days or over millions of years does not change that God created the world, how I live, how I view God, or how I share his gospel. It would perhaps be a bigger deal if I were a scientist, but as a less competent communication studies major, it changes very little. But a subject like abortion has countless lives at stake. While there are plenty of heavily politicized subjects that I would rather not touch with a ten foot pole, some issues have too high consequences to stay on the fence.

We have to consider what the non-negotiables are and why. For example, some have theorized that the resurrection of Jesus was spirit only, and not physical. Here I jump off to the other side, because “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Those are very serious consequences. With Christianity in general, if our eternal destination is on the line based on whether or not we make a decision, what higher consequences could you ask for?

What are the Facts of the Issue?

You need to make an educated decision when you jump off the fence. The second most important question I would say is a simple, “What are the facts, ma’am?” Do we have enough information to take a confident stance? Is there disagreement because somebody is missing the facts or is it a difference of worldview and interpretation? In that situation, I would be very cautious with how you judge people on the other side of the fence. But if this is something like the physical resurrection of Jesus, where there are consequences and good evidence to believe it is true, by all means, hop off.

Know when Enough is Enough

While searching for enough evidence is important, it is also possible to overdo it. Many people are like me and would like to take all the time in the world rethinking every option before making any final decisions. Joshua told the Israelites to “choose THIS DAY whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:14) By all means, investigate. Keep looking for more information to have the most knowledge of the issue. But do not let pride or stubbornness prevent you from making a decision. There is a time limit.

A lot of people are getting hung up on certainty with Christianity. “It may be possible, but I can’t be certain.” They say they can believe one thing, but never know for sure. I get that, but let’s face it. When are we 100% sure about anything? If we wait for that standard every time, we’re never going to get anything done. Like a jury, we can’t wait to make a decision based on what evidence might come out for the case in 10 years. We are called to make our decision. At some point we must ask ourselves, am I staying on the fence because the consequences and evidence are not enough, or am I just being stubborn because I like the view up here? Don’t jump off the fence too quickly, but don’t get too comfortable up there either.

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