I read a little thing this week that made me happy, and made me think.
It comes from Isaiah 54:2. Here's what it says:
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;"
This scripture is often thought of in the context of missionary work. Sharing the gospel to all the world, the growing church, etc. But my mind took it in a different direction this time. I thought more about the change that is going to have to happen in all of our hearts as the church grows.
I imagine this direction to make the tent bigger was given before it was apparent why. Can't you imagine God saying, "Enlarge the place of thy tent!" and the people saying, "Why? It's big enough for everyone already!" Our doctrine states that as the world get closer to the Second Coming of Christ, the church will grow too. That will require a lot of physical and spiritual expansion.
The gospel is meant to encompass everybody. People will (and do) join the church who have very different ideas than me. People will (and do) join the church whose philosophies and politics I dislike. People will (and do) join the church whose personalities grate on me. People of different races and sexual orientations than me will join (and have joined) the church too. And to sum it up, I think what this scripture is saying is "make room."
I'm certainly not arguing that everyone is perfect just the way they are. The core of the gospel is repenting and changing to become better. What I'm saying is, we need to give everyone the space they need to come into the tent and experience Christ for themselves.
Christ's love is big enough to give everyone a chance. Am I?