“It’s complicated” pervades social media, television shows and perhaps our personal interactions. When this phrase infiltrates communication, often someone desires to avoid clarity. Some seem to use this expression to justify, dismiss or evade topics.
We can be left with the impression that if they were to spend the necessary time to wade through all of the complexity, we would end up agreeing with their decision or situation. And so, they spare us all of the sophisticated details by saying, “it’s complicated.”
Is it complicated? Or might it often be something else?
More often than not the scenarios in which I hear this phrase have suggested to me that someone has experienced a conflict of values. The conflict might be over whether or not to suffer the social consequences of having violated some standard, such as ethics or morality.
Or it could be the person was caught in the dilemma of needing to choose between two good values, such as being generous or keeping a promise. Still yet perhaps someone had chosen to lie rather than tell the truth and when questioned about it mumbles, “It’s complicated.” The list goes on.
So let me ask you. In what sort of scenarios have you encountered this phrase? Was it to hide some character flaw?
If so, I would suggest that if we will think about it, such flaws boil down to choosing self, what I desire, or what I think instead of more important values and ideals. To the degree this is true, the destructive rule of self is nothing new.
Scripture has much to say about serving self. Discipleship requires replacing our devotion to our own desires and ways of thinking with serving Christ as Lord (2 Cor. 5:15; Lk. 9:23-26). Human ideas are jettisoned in favor of the Creator’s healthy ways for living. Light replaces darkness. Clarity replaces confusion.
This does not mean the way of discipleship is easy. But it is a much more simple life.
The highest value involves loving God. This requires obeying God. To be sure, there are many times when the fleshly self wants to run contrary to God’s ways. We might be tempted to choose family over Christ, however that is not the way of the disciple (Mt. 10:37-39). We will live up to being the best humans God created us to be when we obey God.
The next most important value entails loving and caring for others in the same way we try to take care of ourselves. If we love people, we will not seek to bring them under God’s judgment by enticing them to do wrong. Rather, we seek their well being.
Perhaps not in every situation but in many, “It’s complicated” can be a shallow disguise for I will do what I want to do. As such, in these cases it masks a spiritual character flaw impacting all of life.