When you look at both of these two pictures you might be surprised to find out that they are the same bird, a male redpoll. From the back it appears to be a fairly non-descript bird and easily mistaken for some other bird such as a sparrow. From the from he is far more colourful, especially in the spring when the male’s breast becomes quite red. The female is less colourful though. I took the picture with its back towards me first, and it required patience when it flew off before it returned awaiting its turn at the feeder.
There are many issues where it helps to see both sides before one makes a judgment. Even if at first sight it looks unprepossessing. It is all too easy to fire off a tweet before you have time to think what you are saying. Equally we can judge people from some less than flattering first impression. You can often tell the editorial stance of a newspaper by how flattering or unflattering the pictures they chose to publish of politicians and other public figures. We have to be mindful that our perceptions are being formed with people with agendas.
In the same vein it can be applied in Christian matters in many areas, especially where two opposite concepts are held in tension. The very essence of the Gospel is that God’s love for his creation is held in tension with His justice for those who have rebelled against Him. We are naturally attracted to the idea of a loving God and these days it is easy to watch or follow those who preach a positive and upbeat message. At times we all need to hear a positive and uplifting message in a world where everything seems to be such doom and gloom. Though if that is all we ever hear, in time, it becomes saccharin sweet. The danger then is to go in the opposite direction and concentrate on the sinfulness of man and become judgmental. God’s love and justice are two sides of the same coin. A coin that is the same on both side in this part of the world, if not yours, is a fake.
The fact is that a couple of days before I took these photos I noticed a female redpoll at the feeder, and because it had been nearly a year since I had last seen a redpoll in my garden my first reaction was to think it was a sparrow. It was only when I noticed it was too small to be a sparrow that I took a closer look. Therefore, I was on the lookout for it to come back, otherwise I might have missed this one. Jesus said that the truth would set us free (John 8:32), but we often settle for a one-sided view of the truth.
David Rose 2017.