“Ambivalence”

“I believe very strongly both ways,” might be the weak position of many people in our society of today. It might also be the best layman’s definition of ambivalence. This uncertainty is sometimes expressed in the inability to make a choice or the desire to say
or do two opposite things simultaneously.

A line from a long-ago pop song said, “nobody is wrong if everybody is right.” This philosophical doctrine sounds wise and tolerant until examined more closely. It ranks right up there with, “everyone’s truth is equally valid.” It should be especially troubling for a Christian because it would put the teachings of Satan on an equal footing with those of Christ. Satan says, “Do unto others before they can do unto you.” Jesus says, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” (Mt 7:12) Like all the devil’s lies, this one is a clever counterfeit.

Very few things would be as sad as an ambivalent Christian. It could be that one is unaware of this conduct, but more likely one is choosing to, “… enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (Heb 11:25) while planning to return to good behavior later. To do that is to silence the voice of one’s conscience and that of the Holy Spirit and listen to other more beguiling ones. This is so dangerous because it can easily become habitual and affect eternal salvation.

The Hebrew writer states this without any ambivalence. “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, WHO HAVE SHARED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT…if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance…(Heb 6:4-6) Surely this would be antithetical to one who teaches, “it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.” We have to make a choice—ambivalence or scripture.

—Jim Bailey