Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Sweetness-Strength Matrix

There are four possible combinations of Sweetness/ Hardness and Strength/ Weakness

Sweetness and strength
Sweetness and weakness

Hardness and strength
Hardness and weakness

Some self-identified Christians are strong but lack sweetness - and no matter how strict their observance, how devout their lives, how obedient they are to legitimate authority - their hardness leads them to serve themselves and not God. (These are the Pharisees.)

Some self-identified Christians are sweet but lack strength - and no matter how lovingly they speak, their weakness leads them to serve the world and not God. (These are the Liberals.)

Some self-identified Christians are hard and weak - these are petty and spiteful individuals; but so unpopular that they seldom do harm to anybody but themselves. Since they lack admired qualities - in their own eyes as well as the world's - they are only one step of insight and acknowledgement away from humility and repentance.

The biggest danger is to have one positive quality without the other - Love or Courage but not both; and to convince oneself, and others, that this is superior: this is what is most needed here and now; and for the sweet-weak to despise strength (the average modern Christian or idealist secular Leftist); or the hard-strong to despise sweetness (the 'strict' Christian legalists and inquisitors or Nietzschian secular Right).

There are four possible combinations - but only sweetness and strength together will suffice. We should ask ourselves - do we have both? Does our church have both? And if we lack one, we should seek the other.

Note: The key is not really to possess sweetness and strength - because to a considerable extent, these depend on how we are made - but to value sweetness and strength. No matter how we are made, we can value sweetness and strength; and we can repent hardness and weakness.