I ran across this phrase and it resonated with me. “It is always easier to fight for ones principles than to live up to them.”
This appears to be true from what I can see. What do you think? There is a war of words going on in our country and compromise is nothing short of a curse word. Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter who brought the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration to light believes our nation is in (what he terms) a “cold civil war.” It is a war of words and there are two distinct sides. Each side is trying to either tear down the other or win converts. It isn’t working.
Human beings (us) are more concerned about what others are doing than doing the harder work of defining our own principles and striving to live up to them. We are much better at trying to impose our will on others than the hard work of self-reflection and self-discipline.
The issue itself doesn’t really matter, it could be anything. It is the behavior not the issue(s) I am talking about and it is the behavior that I want to address.
It is a fool’s errand to think we can make someone do (or believe) something if they don’t agree. Yet what do we see? People getting louder and louder about something they are passionate about wrongly thinking that if they are more brash than the “other side” they will either give in or give up. In the end, it will only cause further alienation.
The Christian church in America (not just the Lutherans) is declining because many outside the Church views us as being hypocritical in our moral pronouncements on certain issues and people even if we aren’t doing that. This hurts all of us but most of all it hurts the cause and mission of Jesus which is all about love. But it is not just that. The world sees the Church acting poorly as individuals and wonders why we don’t live up to our own moral judgments and/or why we are so full of hate and exclusive.
Even if we aren’t doing those things at Bethel, we are lumped in the churches that do. This is hard to overcome.
Did you ever notice that Jesus never made anybody do anything? He never forced his will on anyone. Sure, Jesus instructed the disciples and even sent them out to share the good news of God’s love but he never, ever forced them to do it. He didn’t make the rich young ruler sell everything he had and give it to the poor so that he could follow Jesus and inherit eternal life. Nope, Jesus let the decision rest in his lap and this man decided to walk away. Jesus understood free will better than we do.
Why is it that the Church (in general) and some Christians tend to act more like Darth Vader of Star Wars in trying to impose their version of Christian moralism on others rather than letting people choose for themselves whether or not they want to experience the life changing love of Jesus? There is a big difference between imposing a moralistic ethic on people and loving on them in Jesus’ Name…I’m just saying.
All I am trying to make clear is this, maybe we should worry more about ourselves as individuals and trying to live up to our own principles than trying to impose our moral framework on others.
Let’s just be kind and compassionate.
God bless you,