What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
Month 12: His Balance
“Be ye therefore perfect”
WEEK 45: HARMONY OF “OPPOSITES”
Christ attained (and exemplified) perfection in every facet, in every shade of life. He is the white, perfect light which gathers and includes every color or every spectrum in the rainbow.
His life stands as the ultimate example of all good traits—even those that, at first, seem to us to be opposites of each other:
susceptibility of grief/deep joy
ambition/interest in ordinary persons
self-culture and development/self-denial
commitment to a cause/patience, freedom from anxiety
It is truly amazing to ponder that list and to realize that Christ combined them, perfected the “opposites” simultaneously. He was completely confident, yet completely humble (see week 41). He had maximum strength (see Month 3), yet maximum sensitivity (see Month 4). The list goes on and on.
There is greatness in balance, and balance is often the result of two great moral forces, each pulling in opposite directions. Even the earth we live on is held in place by centripetal gravity (holding in) and centrifugal force (holding out).
Danger lurks when one character trait overpowers its opposite. Conviction without sympathy makes the bigot. Liberality without positive conviction of truth leads to thoughtless toleration. Compassion without indignation produces the holy man of the East who peacefully meditates while children around him starve.
Balance is everywhere in the Lord’s teachings. He didn’t say “love others and not yourself.” He said love others as yourself (see Matthew 9:19), love yourself and love others. He wants us to seek the best for ourselves and for others. The concept of “and” was important to Christ. He didn’t want us to develop one good trait at the expense of another. He wanted both, for each of us.
He said, “For their sakes I sanctify myself” (John 17:19). Is he saying that he made himself good so that he could help others make themselves good? To Christ, the sin or selfishness had to do not so much with caring about oneself as with not caring about others.
Christ epitomized perfection not only in the “masculine qualities” of strength and leadership, but also in the “feminine qualities” of sensitivity, loyalty, tenderness, devotion.
He is the ultimate example of the assets of youth—delight, adventure, and freshness—but he is also the ultimate example of the assets of age—wisdom and consistency.
He is the ultimate in “Western virtues”—practicality and action-orientation—but also in “Eastern qualities”—meditation and thought-orientation.
Jesus Christ is the model for all good, and the example for all people, of any age, of any sex, of any time.
Lao Tzu, who lived six hundred years before Christ and who created the philosophy followed by hundreds of millions of Taoists today, taught that all things were held in check by two great opposing balancing forces: the yin and the yang. He grouped all opposing forces into these categories—the arm and the cold, the masculine and the feminine, the old and the young. He indicated that if there should ever appear on the earth a being who possessed all the qualities of the yin and all the qualities of the yang, that being would be God.
Again, six hundred years after Lao Tzu’s profound prescription came Jesus Christ.