I was born and raised in a Christian family in Korea. Church was my life and listening to the sermon was unquestionably the most important activity on Sunday, even though I was young. Back then, most of the sermon messages in my church were focused heavily on challenging and correcting people. This helped me to realize how sinful I was and helped me to look to Jesus, but I never experienced complete peace or sense of security in my relationship with God. For my entire teenage years and early adulthood, I suffered from a nagging sense of guilt and condemnation, thinking I was never doing good enough for God.
Fast forward, when I discovered the purity of the Gospel of Grace just before I got married, and understood what Jesus really did for me, I fell in love with Jesus all over again. For the first time in my life, I felt a complete peace with God in my heart. Since the message of unconditional acceptance was so life-changing for me, I ended up thinking everything I was taught up to that point was wrong. I began to be very critical of teachings that were not in line with my understanding of the gospel and without knowing I closed myself from other types of teachings. If the message showed any hint of rebuking or correcting, I made sure to stay away.
However, now I realize that Gospel never changes but our understanding of the gospel can change and expand. Our theology only reveals part of God’s infinite nature and wisdom.
One pastor said, “There is only one way into the Kingdom of God but there are many ways in the Kingdom of God”.
God is bigger than we think, and he cannot be boxed into our theology.
As long as we believe in Jesus, we have something in common and should accept the fact that we all need to learn from each other, regardless of denomination or theology. Once I found my security in the Gospel and understood that God’s kingdom is bigger than I know, I slowly began to appreciate all the people who spoke into my life, though their message was not consistent with what I believed to be true. These days, I often find myself asking, “what can I learn from this person?” Every time I ask that question, I feel like God allows me to learn something I didn’t know before.
I began to understand that maturity is not having lots of knowledge in your head, but is having lots of room in your heart to listen and embrace those who think differently. It will take some time because it is challenging but it is a wonderful challenge to take on.