Living in a Black and White World

black and white road

Nemo / Pixabay

I am raising a black and white child.

One who views things as right or wrong with little room in between. She has learned to give grace to others but when it comes to herself there is no mercy or forgiveness.

I created this in her, on accident, and I am now working diligently to reverse the effects. She used to be a little liar. I couldn’t believe a word out of her mouth. She would lie to me even when the truth was presented. Yes, all children do this, but she would lie more often than tell the truth. She had a problem.

We attacked it head on. She had been hiding things in her room and lying about it so we cleaned out her room. We grounded her and took away grace when it came to lying. In our old discipline plan, if she was caught in a lie she could confess and not get in trouble. Unintentionally, we had taught her that she could lie and all would be okay if she confessed when she was busted. No more. That grace went away.

Truth or lie

White or Black


I’m living Philippians 4:8-9 for the next few months. I am picking one quality to focus on each week.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (ESV)

This week I have been focusing on whatever is just. I have been letting my week be guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness.

As I started the week, I began looking at things very critically.

truth or a lie

reasonable or unreasonable

fair or unfair

white or black

black & white wall

StepanFoto / Pixabay


The side of me that likes boundaries began to feel very comfortable. Thinking on whatever is just created a very strong wall. Things were on one side or the other.

I didn’t like where the week seemed to be heading so I put it out of my mind and went on with my daily things.

Every time I thought about being just this week, I became very uncomfortable. It wasn’t a place I wanted to go. As I moved through my week, I wondered if my interpretation was off.

Perhaps whatever is just is not so black and white.


The internal conflict continued.

A lie is a lie

A sin is a sin

Right is right and wrong is wrong


But where is the God of mercy and forgiveness in all of that?

I came to the realization that a just God is the God of mercy and forgiveness. I have ‘known’ it for some time but there are times when I must be hit over the head and reminded of things. I have to struggle and remember who God is.

A just God is guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness.



black white hand

leyuan / Pixabay

The mercy and forgiveness lies in being fair.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

I know the terms. A sin is a sin. I must pay for that–justice.

But instead in comes mercy and forgiveness.

Jesus paid the price for me.


How is that being guided by fairness?

Everyone has a chance and the opportunity. God didn’t draw the line in the sand and pick a selected few. Anyone can accept his grace and forgiveness. He is a just God–guided by truth and fairness.

Suddenly the idea of focusing on whatever is just became colorful. There is still a lot of black and white and there will always be, but there is room for forgiveness because a just God is fair. He has given me the terms and it is my choice to live up to them or not.


jeg2002uk / Pixabay


My little liar still struggles. She lies from time to time, hides things from us, and slips up. It is a habit we are all working on breaking.

But once she understood the line in the sand–the line between truth and a lie–fairness came into play.

She came to me really upset one day. She had to confess. She had lied and been hiding something from me again. It was eating her up inside and she couldn’t take it any more. I had no idea she was hiding something, she had done it quite well, but she knew it was wrong.

She had been reading more than the required 30 minutes a day.

You may laugh, I did inside too, but to her black and white world this was bad. I said to read 30 minutes and she was sneaking into her room to read more because she really liked the book. She was hiding it from me so I wouldn’t stop her from reading because the book was that good.

She cried, told me she was sorry, and stood ready to accept her consequence–grounded for 3 days because she lied.


In stepped fairness. The black and white rules say she deserved to be grounded. I said 30 minutes, she read 60.

Guided by truth–she lied

Guided by reason–she was hiding something

Guided by justice–the punishment is grounding

Guided by fairness–no. It would not be fair to hand out such a strict penalty for something so trivial. Let alone absurd that I would consider grounding for reading ‘too much’.

That day she learned that sometimes there is room for grace in mercy. What she thought was a lie was not. However, she was still hiding it from me. According to our conditions, she is not to hide things for me–and that is where the lie started to grow.

I could not be fair and punish her for such a thing. Instead, we talked and she learned.

I’m trying to model and show her that in her black and white world there is room to move. There are lines and you do not cross those, but there is a wide road in the middle between black and white.


This week my journey through whatever is just took many different twists and turns. In the end, I was reminded that being just is not so black and white.




Staying content in my patch of grass:

Standing in contentment in green grass

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

  • We have been having cool mornings. It has been nice to open up the house and let in some fresh air before it gets too hot outside.
  • The girls have been spending lots of time outside playing in the neighborhood. It has been nice to sneak some extra peace and quiet during the day.



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