That’s what we often call changes in our faith.
It’s a recognition that spiritually, emotionally, even theologically, we are growing, changing, and hopefully maturing.
We look back and acknowledge that, for many of us, the person we were ten years ago would be surprised (and at times even upset) by positions we’ve come to hold. Like this Baptist boy who was raised to believe the Bible stated unequivocally that women in ministry was crossing an important line, and now is vocal in his support of egalitarianism.
We look back, see our stories, and we try to extend a little grace to our younger selves. And well we should.
Yet we often fail to extend that grace to others.
With sad consistency, we rail against others because of the ridiculously naïve and impatient idea that – whatever progress we’ve made – everyone else should be there now.
That friend who holds a complementarian position, the same position I held half a dozen years ago, is now expected to make a change all at once. That it took years of Biblical study and long conversations for me to get there suddenly becomes inconsequential.
I wonder if part of that impatience with others is in fact a hint that we have not made peace with our own journey?
Looking back we are frustrated, embarrassed, even angry that we once held certain beliefs or acted certain ways. So, when we see those same traits in others, we are the first to pounce.
We want to fix them, or rather we want to fix us, all at once. We want to pretend we’ve never been there. Our façade of perfection has no room for having once held that view.
And so, like the parent who resents seeing their own failings manifest in their children, we push our baggage on another and all too often make the situation worse.
Never mind that it doesn’t work like that, for anyone.
We all make progress in fits and starts. Our life-giving new discoveries come hand in hand with errors and falsehoods we don’t see at the time.
The journey is messy, but it’s what shapes us – and we need to honor that story.
Chances are that in ten or twenty years I will look back on where I am today and shake my head, marveling at all that changed. But hopefully I’ll also be able to extend some grace to myself, and some patience towards those making the journey with me.