I owned a casino for 8 days. I was a record producer, partnered with the most corrupt, criminal and violent record producer of all time. I had a business in Jamaica with some shady clients who had to flee the country as their political backers were jailed. These things all happened around the same time. By the way, I considered myself a strong Christian.
"You can’t do good business with bad people.” Actually, my favorite version of this statement is that “You can’t wallow with pigs and not get dirty.”
I did not see what I was doing with the casino, the gangsta record producer or the business partners in Jamaica as “double-mindedness.” Rather, I had developed a convenient rationalization. It sounded something like this in my head; “These are just business transactions. Maybe I can even help convert some of the people in these businesses over to Christ.” I’ve never thought of myself as serving two masters, (Matthew 6:24). Yet, when I take away the convenient rationalization, it is apparent that I was.
In my life I have often been drawn to the edge. Right at the point of gray turning to darkness. Sometimes I have stepped in, other times I have stepped back. Almost every time, however, there was a voice whispering truth to me about where I was and what was God’s right course for me, (James 4:7-8). I didn’t want to hear the voice of God asking me to come closer to him. I did not listen to him as he told me to wash my hands and purify my heard. I am good at deflecting, denying, dignoring - (I know the last one doesn’t start with “d” but I like alliteration). Double-mindedness.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” F. Scott Fitzerald
That quote sums up nicely the attitude I had during my riskier and grayer period. Is that all over for me now? Now that I know about this double-mindedness I’m sure that I’ll avoid it. Ok, I’m kinda sure which in fact means I’m not sure. Opportunities for chasing two beliefs at the same time with each serving opposing values are available every day. Greed/Generosity. Fidelity/Lust. Saving/Spending. There is a much longer list of opposites happening in life every day. A friend of mine says that we all live at moments a version of “God, just don’t watch me now.” The idea that my heart, mind and soul are not operating all of the time in perfect alignment with God is at bare minimum uncomfortable. I go back to James, (love James), when he speaks of a person who is double-minded as being unstable in all they do. From my own experience it's true, (James 4:7-10).
My sense of guilt, shame and repentance did not occur immediately at the moment I walked away from those three business arrangements or other double-minded moments in my life. Before those feelings I heard a loud voice in my spirit yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
For me, the way I am working on my double-minded nature is through honesty with other Christ followers sharing decisions I am making. It’s not just business - I have sins all over the place. The double-mindedness of bitterness or forgiveness, controlling things or submitting to God, being frustrated with family or loving them and keeping them close, (Ok, I’m the only person who gets frustrated with family- my bad).
I can’t sort out my own double-minded nature and the choices I might make on my own. Too much pride in what F. Scott Fitzgerald’s calls the ability to hold two opposite ideas in my mind at the same time and still function. I have to have people to help me hold on to the part of choices and living that are aligned with Jesus Christ. The casinos, gangsters and international criminals should have been easy enough to have figured out my double-mindedness and taken a different path. If I am able to miss those situations screaming “wrong side of things”, what else do I miss? I miss less with Christ followers in my life who are lovingly and brutally honest.