We’ve been taught to stand firm in our faith, to obey the laws of our faith. Remember the children’s Sunday School chorus, “The Wiseman Built his House Upon a Rock?” What happened when the storms came on the “foolish man” who “built his house on the sand?” His house “came tumbling down!”

Let’s revisit that thought. Maybe, just maybe, standing firmly in our faith can also make room for exceptions without causing fissures and cracks in the rock walls.

Maybe God is prouder of us when we allow empathetic doorways in our walls instead of dogmatic, exclusionary bars on our windows.

In our current political, social, and environmental instability, we want to stand firmly in our faith in order to give us some sense of security. However, in doing so, are we substituting church dogma for God’s first commandment “to love our neighbor as ourselves?” Does following man-made doctrine give us an easy out by relieving our conscience that at least we’re following the “rules” and doing the right thing?

In James 2: 12-13, “speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful,” we are encouraged to be a people who are to be judged under a law of mercy. And loving mercy triumphs over judgment.

My prayer is that I make doorways for exceptions in my house, showing mercy instead of building walls of judgment that promote exclusion.

Whom do you exclude from God’s love and mercy?

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:4

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