It makes no sense for us, as members of a faith community, to ask others to do what we don’t model ourselves. As the tough army sergeant in movies used to say, “I never ask my men to do what I don’t do.” It’s a matter of credibility: God’s and ours.
When our Church (that’s us) asks folks to behave this or that way, we’re claiming to speak God’s mind not just a useful philosophical insight that we’ve discovered.
God wouldn’t suggest that we do something that’s impossible. But that’s exactly the impression we give folks when we ask them to do what we don’t do ourselves.
It’s the core assertion of our faith is that God accepts everyone, forgives everyone and is faithful to everyone. We offer that message to everyone who will listen. We say that realizing this truth about our Creator gives humans a security beyond anything else that life offers.
If we say that God is accepting and faithful to all people no matter what their weaknesses and failures while we accept and are faithful to only those we find personally compatible, we don’t merely make ourselves less believable, we make God less believable.
When we become Christian we embrace the responsibility to welcome everyone. We take on that responsibility because we claim that God welcomes all people.
Be what you believe. That’s the challenge to everyone who would live the Christian life.
No one will steal God’s beloved creatures from God’s hands. That was Jesus’ claim about his Father’s dependability. That has to be our promise as well. Whether I find you enjoyable or obnoxious, sympathetic or offensive, nothing will make me turn my back on you.
What we claim of God we model for our world. It’s what we do; it’s who we are.