A couple of weeks ago I heard a sermon on Luke 13:22-30. The story seems to be about how many people will seek to be saved, but only a few will actually make it through the narrow door. Now I’m not going to go into the passage too much, but something struck me as I was listening to this sermon. The one preaching usually always places themselves as one who has made it through said narrow door.
It’s strange that we can preach on a passage that says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to,” and still come from a place from certainty that we are one of those who have entered. Everyone else may be questioned, and in this particular sermon it seemed that everyone else was, but the speaker is exempt. Is it not possible that we are mistaken?
I realize that functionally we all move forward in life with the knowledge and beliefs that we have the best that we can. I don’t think having a continual crisis of belief is healthy, but I wonder that always being certain that we’re “in” is any healthier. It seems to me that this is usually held on to and used as license to dictate who is in and who isn’t.
The ironic thing is that often people who think they’re in, will be excluded by someone else who also thinks they’re in. In a very real sense it doesn’t matter what we think. We can think we’re in and be wrong. We can think other people are out and have them be in. Our perspectives are so limited, only God is able to truly evaluate who is in and out. While we may be able to make educated estimates, there is nothing binding in our proclamations of who is in and who is out.
So where does this leave us? I find myself again drawn to the answer of humility. Humility in our own walk with God as we seek to follow him as best as we are able to. Humility in our interactions with other that displays the grace and love of God to those we may disagree with.
This sounds easy, but can be a very difficult thing to practice. Not everyone will respond to our disagreements, even rooted in humility, with that same grace. We may even be placed outside of the door by our stance. We can also not always do the best in displaying love to those who disagree with us and seek to ostracize them as well.
I guess I have just found myself more skeptical of those who want to set themselves up as the bastion of truth. While some like to point fingers towards conservatives or the religious in general, it seems to be something that many people regardless of their particular label do. We always want to set ourselves up as right and anyone who disagrees as wrong.
This isn’t to say that I have no views on what is right, or what is wrong. It is simply the willingness to admit that my perspective is limited, and that I could very well be wrong. In terms of my faith, I certainly hope I am through that narrow door. I believe in God and rely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, yet I also know my failings and sin. Even if I am through that narrow door, it does not make me the gatekeeper of that door. There is only one who that door belongs to, and it is not us. I think we’d all be a lot better off if we remembered that.