I find it hard to understand why we seem to pick and choose as to what parts of the Gospel we focus on and even ignore some other parts.
At times it is surprising to hear some Christians who seem to focus on some areas and tend to ignore other areas of our faith.
As Christians we cannot ignore abortion and how it violates the rights of the unborn. It is an evil and we need to be very clear in the way we help all people understand this as best as we can. Of course we also need, like Jesus, to be very pastoral and caring for those who have taken part in abortion and help them find healing and forgiveness. Though abortion is objectively an evil, some people may feel so trapped that they act in desperation and maybe even sometimes think that they have no other options.
The dignity of the human person and the dignity and beauty of human sexuality and its sacredness are also very important to us as Christians.
While always compassionate we need to be clear about our beliefs in these areas. We also need, however, to make sure that we do not ignore other very important aspects of our faith.
Jesus spoke very strongly about the treatment of the poor by the rich and powerful. When He spoke about the last judgement He spoke about the feeding of the hungry, the clothing of the naked, the visiting of prisoners.
He also spoke about how blessed are the peacemakers, giving support for the grieving.
He also spoke about not just looking after our own family and friends, but to have universal love (e.g. the Good Samaritan etc.).
He spoke about forgiveness of enemies. He included into his inner circle those who were considered immoral, outsiders, bad people, and helped them to change and grow, this scandalised the Pharisees! (Matthew and Zacchaeus the tax collectors, Mary of Magdala etc.)
He said that He did not come to crush bruised reeds, and not put out smouldering flames, but to proclaim God’s year of favour and liberty to captives. He also said that those who live by the sword die by the sword.
It is important to be wise as serpents and meek as lambs. It is not one or the other.
When Jesus spoke about the commandments, he summarised them as loving God with our whole self and loving our neighbour as ourselves.
The ones who opposed Him most, and the ones He spoke very strong words to, were those who considered themselves good and others bad! They did not listen to Him but acted out of their preconceived ideologies.
We all need conversion. We all need to let the Holy Spirit guide us. There is always the temptation to act out of preconceived ideas. We can be tempted to be trapped in ideologies which can make us act out of harshness, and narrow and fundamentalist positions, this is simplistic and the easy way out.
The Holy Spirit can disturb us so as to shake off the dust of smugness, false pride and judgemental and narrow ideas, whether of ‘right’ or ‘left’.
Let us beware of those who manipulate by pushing ideologies or part truths in the pursuit of their agendas.
Christianity is about the risk of loving as God loves, as revealed to us by Jesus and the action of the Holy Spirit. Christian loving is about being in true connection with our God, ourselves, others and all of creation.