Who do I try to be? What do I try to value?

Previously I wrote about Identity. I’m thinking about who I am, or more accurately who I try to be. I know who I  am—I’m a mess. True, but not very helpful.

So the question is: who do I try to be? In other words, what do I (try to) value?

Here’s one conclusion: I (try to) value inclusion. I believe God offers space in a big ol’ house.

In the preface to Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis provides a beautiful metaphor.

I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions-as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.

It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.

In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?”

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those Who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

In Lewis’ terms, I (try to) value the largest possible house. Everyone who professes to follow Jesus ought to have a place. I think God sees the church as a big ol’ house. And what matters most is that we bring people inside, not which room they ultimately choose.

Passionate discussions have a place in the house, but they belong within the individual rooms. My job is to make others feel welcome and safe. I (try to) love, respect, and seek and common ground with those who’ve chosen other rooms, especially those with whom I disagree. I’d rather be kind than right.

As Lewis wrote, “That is one of the rules common to the whole house.”

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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