Enter through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it.
– Jesus, Matthew 7:13
Most Christians I know are extremely familiar with this Scripture verse. If you're anything like me though, you've known it as a warning and not an instruction. We hear what we are to avoid even though Jesus Christ gives us a clear instruction: enter.
For the majority of my life as a Christian, faith and spirituality had much more to do with avoidance than it did entering. With great spiritual anxiety, I avoided places, things, people, and ideas. What a shameful mistake that has been. And I see that it is sadly the definitive characteristic of contemporary Christianity.
Jesus' instruction is not to avoid anything, but to enter through the narrow gate. Everything else he says is only for the purpose of clarifying why. What makes it narrow is the convenience and arrogance it costs the one entering. Two things, I may add, which only steal from relationship and life, but that we hold onto as if they were vital organs.
It is easy and convenient to theologize about gay peoples from behind Scripture and church walls, but it is inconvenient to enter into a genuine, Christ-like relationship with someone who is gay.
It is easy and convenient to criticize the church at a distance, but it is inconvenient and humbling to enter in and be the change you hope to see.
It is easy and convenient to quote Scripture and avoid things on the no-no list, but it is inconvenient, challenging, and transformational to simplify both the Scriptures and your entire life down to what Jesus said everything centers on: Love God with your whole being, and likewise, love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus offers us an entering. Let's stop avoiding. Let's stop being afraid.