I think about it this way. The Christian Church holds it to be true that all are made in God’s image and every human from every nation is of divine intrinsic worth. Therefore, a particular kind of love, namely the kind of self-giving love seen in Christ, for neighbor and enemy alike, is the only acceptable good. Fear, hatred, retributive justice and violence are not.Another way I think about it is like this. The Christian Church holds it to be true that all are loved, pursued and welcomed by God the Father who is able to redeem all things and refused to abandon us to our own death-dealing ways. Therefore, welcoming and embracing all people no matter their past or present, ideology or religion, ethnicity or sexuality, is the only acceptable good.
Advent reminds me that a community of people who claim to know truth and what is good should embody its proclamation by practicing self-giving love that reasons with the world through faithful presence, humble rhetoric and if need be, courageous martyrdom—never by coercive force. I would suggest that if it doesn’t, it does not hold tightly to the truth and its proclamation of what is good lacks credibility.
The Christian Scriptures remind those who are to be guided by them that before truth is to understood as a proposition or position, it must be understood as a Person–Jesus, who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.¹ Jesus as the Word Incarnate is what God has to say to humanity. We would do well to listen and interpret all other propositions and positions in light of what we see in Him.²
Jesus is the embodiment of all that is true, good and beautiful. May His Church be faithful and by His Spirit put His truth, goodness and beauty on display for all to see.