“I think it’s that train.”
We crossed the subway platform to the right.
“No. It’s that one!”
We doubled back and headed to the other side.
“That’s not right! Hurry or we’ll miss it!”
My sister couldn’t remember if we were going uptown or downtown in New York City. This latest indecision had us scrambling madly to make our train. She leaped through the door with me right behind. The door closed on my leg holding me in lunge position toward the center of the car. Fortunately, the door opened again, and I tumbled forward, grabbing the nearest pole for balance. I smiled at the usually unimpressed New Yorkers who couldn’t resist a chuckle.
My sister’s tendency to be indecisive, was and is legendary in our family. She will ponder, waver, and finally leap into a decision, sometimes literally. But when her mind is made up, it’s “double or nothing” in her enthusiasm and commitment.
Double can be a bonus. When it is something wonderful or tasty like a scoop of my favorite ice cream, I never turn down the offer of double. In the story of Samuel, his mother Hannah was sorrowful because she couldn’t conceive. But her husband loved her so much that he gave a double portion to her despite her barrenness (1 Samuel 1:5). Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and received it, pressed down and overflowing (2 Kings 2:9).
However, double can be a drawback. My double vision is a real problem without my prism glasses, especially if I’m driving. If someone is double minded, it signals uncertainty at the least and hypocrisy at the worst. Sometimes these people are hedging their bets. Covering their bases. Trying to have it both ways to keep their power and influence or to appease both sides.
On the other hand, I think James is a little harsh with his broad-brush stroke of double mindedness. He accuses anyone who has doubts in his faith as being double minded and unworthy of receiving anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8). Thank goodness that wasn’t what Jesus offered to both Thomas and Peter in return for their doubts and denials. Thank goodness my Lord Jesus doesn’t treat me with that disdain in my times of doubt.
But no one enjoys working for a double-minded boss, manager, or principal. Children are unsettled by a parent whose promises are never kept or who can’t seem to decide. We enjoy leadership that can be trusted, counted on. Leadership that provides clear guidance and direction.
How many times did our Lord Jesus clearly tell His disciples the plan? He would be handed over to people who would kill Him, and He would rise from the dead on the third day. When the time came there was no wavering on His part. As Luke says in chapter 9:51, “He was determined to go to Jerusalem” (NASB). Various translations use “made up His mind,” “steadfastly set His face,” “resolutely set out,” and my favorite: “He gathered up His courage and steeled himself” (MSG). This was definitely not a double minded person. His purpose was clear, and nothing would get in His way.
Some might say Jesus “doubled down” on His determination to follow through on His mission. His disciples at times would try to dissuade Him, but in the end, they were willing to follow Him, even claiming they would be willing to die with Him (John 11:16; Mathew 26:35). They knew His resolve was firmly established on His mission, even though they weren’t always in tune with what that mission was.
If we are leading with careful thought to the outcome, careful consideration of all avenues, careful understanding of how our decision will affect our family or church or company, we will have that same determination. At the same time, we must carefully evaluate our own motives and thoughts to be sure we aren’t “doubling down” on a risky or thoughtless action because of our arrogance or insecurity or hesitancy to admit we are wrong. We need to test those decisions prayerfully with a sincere heart and listen to our Lord’s guidance.
My sister was and still is indecisive in many things. She will pray over a decision until she becomes almost immobilized. She probably wouldn’t be a good company executive.
But she’s a good leader. I know her heart is sincere. And I know her faith is strong. She trusts in the “alive and active word of God,” that “double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). She is never double minded when it comes to her faith in our Lord Jesus. She never wavers when it comes to the question of Who she follows. And I cherish my sister when I see her joy as she doubles down in her love for her Savior!