This I Believe
As a born again Christian, I have accepted the forgiveness and guidance of Jesus Christ in my life. This I believe; I have been called to care and commanded to love.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean being better, holier or even nicer than anybody else. It doesn’t mean I am without sin, or that I will not sin. Instead it means I am forgiven my sins and failings. My faith gives me a place of compassion and love to which I can go. But that place is opened to me as I open myself to others.
Years ago an old Irish Episcopal priest told me, “The incredible thing about Christianity is not that God makes bad men good, but that He loves bad men.”
I believe the miracle of Christianity is that we are loved as we are. That is the promise of John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I believe Christ liberated us from the Old Testament God of laws and vengeance. Instead of how we act and what we observe we are told; “. . . love the Lord thy God with all thy heart . . . and love thy neighbor as thy self.” This is far harder than living a life of rules and rituals. It means reaching out to others and being open to ourselves.
We live in a time when both politics and religion seem to be separating us by the rites we observe and the faiths we profess. At the same time the media fills us with thousands of messages about what we should want and how we should be. All of this leads us away from the simple message of Christ about God’s love for us and our obligation to each other that love requires.
I believe this is the challenge of Christianity; to measure who we are by how we treat others. To be merciful and caring to the sick and weak, compassionate to those in prison, understanding of those we disagree with and tolerant even of those who would do us wrong. The depth of Christian faith is not found in high ideals or lofty principles. It is not that easy. It is not that simple. For we are called to care and commanded to love; this I believe.
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