Finding the Wise Middle

It’s hard! Perhaps that’s why so many of us can’t grasp it, can’t see it in the haze caused by personal opinions and anchored stubbornness.

It’s the wise middle, the place of common sense compromise. I like this verse in the New Testament letter of James.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

Those are several criteria that indicate to us that wisdom is often hard to locate. Wisdom is the thin strands in the middle of that taffy that is being pulled apart.

Years ago, in another place and time, I was elected to our community’s school board. The town had been divided over school bond issues for years. I ran with the purpose of bringing the community together and seeking what was best for our kids. During my last two years on the board I was named as president of the board. What I remember about those years, and the six people I served with, was the cohesiveness we had. Personal agendas were put to the side. We often didn’t agree, and yet we sought the wise middle that took in everyone’s perspective. What one board member believed was good for our students might have been different than another member’s thoughts, but we talked through it. Perhaps the community came to the point that they saw the value of our efforts and trusted our wisdom because the school bond issue passed.

In this time of heated emotions and opinions on each of the extreme ends of the spectrum, there needs to be a willingness to seek the common good– to share the last cookie, if you will, not demand the whole thing.

So businesses reopen with– Knock on wood!– apprehension and anxiety. Some don’t reagree with it and others think it’s way overdue. Okay…so can we find the wise middle?

When I see the man vehemently protesting about wearing a mask into Costco, it shouts about entitlement. A mask won’t necessarily protect you from Covid-19, but it’s a small request in the right direction.

Staying at home and being restricted from going any place is a reach, also. So what can we do to have a sense of freedom while also watching out for one another? That’s the wise middle that needs to be searched for, not pushed to the side because it doesn’t fit my want.

We’re in a time of what the community needs, not what I personally want. Wait a minute! Peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere?

Sounds like a conspiracy! Maybe it is! A divine conspiracy!

group of people doing tug of war

Photo by Victor Freitas on

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