I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual. (Matthew 12:7 Message)
As a child enduring abuse, I clung to the restrictions of a legalistic church. They taught that a Christian could lose her salvation. I avoided that scary possibility by following the list of “don’ts”:
· have sex outside of marriage
· go to movies
· wear short skirts or jeans
The perfectionism I strove to achieve brought no joy. Over time, God taught me that I was not only “dead to sin” but also “alive in Christ.” My understanding of the Christian life shifted, to one inspired by my relationship with a Holy God and His love for me.
I still clung to the idea of a “perfect” theology, however. After Bible college and seminary, I substituted a system of theology for a list of rules. Christians disagreed on a few peripherals, such as the timing of baptism, the millennium question, and so on. I did not anticipate disagreements over things like. . .
· the Trinity
· salvation vs. conversion
· The origin of sin
Our differences came up at an ecumenical Bible study at work, with people as dedicated to a right understanding the Bible, as I was. I was flummoxed.
Now I live in a nursing home with people from several denominations, including one I label a “cult.” One of their members clings to one central truth: Jesus loves me, this I know; and He is my Savior.
I am not ready to give that “cult” a free pass—but I know that lady will be in heaven when she dies.
A flexible heart to accept those of different lifestyles and doctrines—asking God to show us which hearts are true to Him.
The longer I live, the more rubbery I get.