Black-and-white Thinking, Black-and-White Salvation

imageI love reading people’s testimonies. I don’t know if it’s because I’m nosy or I’m just fascinated with seeing how other people’s brains work and how other people’s lives play out. After I heard a few, I realized that my testimony was a little bit different than a lot of the stories I was hearing. Not vastly different, but a little different.

A lot of people can tell you when they were saved or when they knew they believed. Some people can get it down to a time in their life or an age or an event. Some people can tell you the exact moment.

I can tell you the exact moment I was saved. I was sitting in my sister’s living room, checking my email. I got an email from Eli telling me about a blog post he had just read here. It’s about the commonalities between faith and science. The bit that That Weird Kid liked was this:

Science thrives on open questions. So does faith rightly understood. Both are journeys into the unknown with the lightest of equipment: a metanarrative or mathematical formula for a compass, and a few fixed reference points on a map that may, who knows, be turned upside down.

That is an awesome line, it is true. But I had never read Psalm 8 before so I went to the linked translation of it here. What blew my brain and changed my world was this line: “What is man that you mind him, children of dust that you note them?” Suddenly, my eyes were opened. And I heard the still small voice and I knew.

But here is where I think my story gets a little different than a lot of people’s. I notice that when a lot of people get saved, they talk about how they suddenly knew that God was real or they realized they were a sinner and they needed to be saved. Some people have a profound realization of how depraved they are and how they can not save themselves. Some people realize they have no other hope of escaping Hell and they must cling to God. Some people have told me about how they suddenly understood the immensity and glory of God’s grace and they wanted it.

What I realized in that dark, sleep-deprived moment, was that the Bible is true. I heard, just as if God had whispered it in my ear, “The Bible is all all true. It is my word, it is my heart, every bit of it. And I love you. Because you are dust.” And I think that is the only redemptive moment that would ever work for my autistic brain. I get broken by my own smallness and the immensity of God’s love, but, first and more importantly, I get the foundation of basic truth to build back up on.

In my black and white thinking, things are either true or they are not. Ideas, opinions, feelings can be outside the realm of verifiability, but, actual physical things and facts: they are either true or not. I am willing to admit that I was mistaken about what is true in the face of better information, but a thing can not be both true and false at the same time. I live by that. I love that. It means that I can build my foundation of what the world is on some premises that I know are true. Then I can check new things by those things. If they are in conflict, I figure out which has better authority or support and I go with that one.

imageSo God gave me a premise to build my whole world on. The Bible is true. It is a God-breathed love letter to his people and therefore, it has the highest authority. It trumps all. If there is a question, the Bible wins. And God knew that that would be all I would need.

Am I a sinner in need of redemption and Jesus’ saving sacrifice? Oh, yeah. But I believe that because I believe the Bible is true.

Do I love grace and want as much as possible for myself and everyone else? Oh, you betcha. But I believe that because the Bible is true.

Do I believe that Jesus died and rose on the third day? Do I believe that Jesus is the culmination of God’s redemptive plan? Do I believe that Heaven is real and I would rather be with God for eternity? Yes, yes, and yes. But I believe all that because I believe the Bible is true.

I have heard people say that autistic people are too concrete, too unnuanced in their thinking, too black and white to understand God or religion or spirituality. But I know that’s not true because God saved me and my concrete, visual, unsubtle, unnuanced brain.

Jesus looked at them and said,”With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
-Matthew 19:26

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