What do you expect of me? What do I expect of you? I believe the answers to those two questions influence our behavior.
How much freedom do we have in the conduct of our lives? How much of what we do is to keep others pacified or happy? How often do we act according to how we think other people would have us act or do what we think is expected of us?
It is amazing what we expect of each other. I think this is particularly applicable in Christian circles. We set standards which we think are right for others but It would be interesting to know whether we personally live up to those same standards. It is so easy to make excuses for our own mistakes but make little or no allowance for others. I honestly think that there are some people who expect more from us than God does!
You really should not be concerned as to what I think about what you do, or you me. We both are answerable to God and not to each other. I understand the argument about “being an example”. Yes we are supposed to be good examples of living the Christian Faith but do I have any right to question your interpretation of the peripheral aspects of Christianity. I am not talking about open blatant disregard for the principles of the Faith but incidentals which have no eternal significance. There is truth which is immovable and unchangeable which we all hold in common but there are many peripheral matters upon which we can decide for ourselves.
I don’t believe we are expected to be identical or even uniform in our thinking or behavior. I don’t ever want to be classified as a “cookie cutter” Christian – one that is just stamped out and placed in a row, all identical. That brings to mind a concept of being a spiritual zombie. I believe zombies do no thinking, ask no questions and never rock the boat. I assume they act according to how they have been programmed. Just fire them up and away they go doing their mindless thing. That’s not for me.
I want to think and raise questions so that I might further understand. We are not questioning the Faith by asking questions about the Faith. I cannot grow without asking questions. We cannot expect people to believe without asking critical questions. It is not a threat to question or be questioned. I think the Christian Faith is old enough and strong enough to withstand any amount of questions thrown at it.
So although we might be related by being in the family of God, please don’t expect me to toe the line of your thinking and I will do the same for you. Please don’t expect me to always line up with you. However, we can and should at least show respect for each other. That would go a long way to create the unity to which we are called.