Jesus Taught us a Third Way of Thinking

A third way. It’s a concept that I like. Third way thinking says simply that very often there aren’t just two ways to go. There isn’t just a right or wrong, forward or backward, this way or that way option, but rather there is very often a third way we might follow as we deal with a given situation. The interesting thing about third way thinking is that most of the time it requires us to work a lot harder.

Two sided thinking is easy. It is clear. I’m right, you’re wrong. This is the way to go or that is the way to go and those are the only options. Two sided thinking by definition creates opposing, conflicting, perspectives. It is either this or that. Third way thinking requires us to go beyond the easy course of two sided conflict to discover a new alternative. It requires creativity and often humility. It demands that we push beyond what is easy to embrace that which may stretch us and cause us to find a way we never considered before.

Jesus taught third ways all the time. His culture demanded that one was either Jew or Gentile with all kinds of rules around what that meant and how one lived out that reality. Jesus found ways to embrace the humanity in everyone and widened the circle beyond the two sided cultural construct. The culture says there are enemies and friends and everyone is treated appropriately according to those categories. Friends you treat well and enemies you seek to hurt or kill. Jesus invited a third way that called us to love enemies as well as friends and end the circle of violence both real and emotional, that always seems to accompany the way enemies are treated. Jesus third way invites us to see again the humanity even in the enemy and treat them accordingly, giving the best opportunity for a change in the relationship.

Two way thinking says that evil, anger, and violence can only be defeated by a stronger force ─ greater violence ─ that overcomes the violence first perpetrated upon us. My mother invoked this thinking when I told her that my friend had gotten angry and hit me. Her response was, “hit him back.” Jesus’ third way thinking invites us to resist evil and violence differently. He invites us to resist it to be sure, but to resist it without engaging in it, to resist it without falling into its cyclical spiral, to resist it in ways that actually defeat it by pointing out its futility and evil through creative non-violent means.

I suppose that the ultimate third way is seen in the reality of Easter. Until Easter, there was life and death. Jesus invites us to see a third way which is life through death. That reality really changes everything and opens up all the avenues of third way thinking.

May we be those as individuals, as congregations, as a Denomination, who choose not to settle for two sided thinking, but who instead seek to discover third ways, ways that often only come through humility, prayer, and the guidance and the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Peace,
Bill

2 thoughts on “Jesus Taught us a Third Way of Thinking

  1. Jesus did not teach a third way. The third way is the world’s compromise, telling God what they want. It is Satan’s way through the world to win souls. Know your scripture and stop listening to what others tell you to believe. Check out Matthew and Revelation 2&3 for what God has to say. Scripture has a great deal to say about what is acceptable and what is not, and 3rd way is not one of them. Search for the truth.

    Bottom line of what you are being told is that the Bible and God/Jesus is no longer relevant. Just believe what the world and those who choose to “Do what is right in their own sight”. God condemned that long ago. Man has choosen from the beginning of time to do whatever he felt like doing, until the Lord lowered the boom. Those who lead others astray will pay a greater price than anyone else. That too is scripture.

    I don’t want to hear back from you, but in order for you to get this, even though you won’t believe me, You insist that I give you email, etc information. I had a more inclusive response prior to this, but of course ……….. May God bless you and lead you to the truth, HIS truth

  2. There is truly only one way, God’s Way. The third way is man’s way of interpreting scripture just as the original third way was taken by Adam & Eve in the Garden. The third way is the world’s way (Ro 12:2). It compromises what Jesus came to do – not to judge but to save (Jn 3:17), not for mankind to perish but have eternal life (accept or reject Christ, Jn 3:18). The third way falls into the cultural trap of believing there are no absolutes, there is no right or wrong (no conditions), truth is relative to one’s whims, inclusion without consequences, acceptance without substance. There are two paths (the wide road to destruction, the narrow road to eternal life-Mt 7:13,14), two places of internment after death (heaven or hell), two ways in which we were created – in His image & likeness, two powers that rule the world, good or evil, two possible answers to His calling (yes or no, no maybes), two ways to judge our works – hot or cold, lukewarm will be spued out of God’s mouth (the third way, Rev 3:15,16). We will stand before God and be accepted or rejected by Him in one of these two ways according to our choices. When will scripture be the deciding factor for christians and not some well-meaning man, woman, society, or denomination reading between the lines and filling in with their own particular ideology that changes or modifies the content of the scriptures, thus presenting a third or different way. God made it simple. We make it hard and complicated. Jesus did not teach a third way. He taught that He was the way and that no one would come to the father except by or through Him. There is only one way – God’s Way!

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