I appreciate consistency. I like people who remain loyal to their family, their community and their football teams. I even like those who consistently oppose me...oops...I mean, I like those who in opposition to me are consistent: consistent in world view, conviction and argument. I don’t mind if someone is a minority voice but I hate it when they misrepresent their minority position or grouping. It is very difficult to gain clarity from inconsistency.
Inconsistency gives the impression that a person either doesn’t understand their own position or that they are deliberately slippery. The former you can’t confidently put your trust in, while the slippery are simply untrustworthy.
None of us are ever perfectly consistent. You don’t have to be a parent very long before you realise how inconsistent you are. I love the prince who said, “Before I had children I had many opinions on how to raise children but now I have children I have no opinions.” Peer group pressure is another space where consistency is severely tested.
I am unashamedly Christian but on every Sunday in church Christians are consistent in admitting inconsistency when we confess our sins. That inconsistency is captured universally when the Bible addresses people about the law, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Whatever you think of the Bible, those words express a truth about the inconsistency at work within us all.
There has never been a perfectly consistent person other than Jesus Christ. His integrity was all sided. No matter which angle you look at Jesus Christ from he is perfectly consistent. You may not like Jesus Christ but you could never fault his consistency. He didn’t bow to pressure, he was not ruled by factions within his own party, he did not seek a vote by changing his views, or wilt when made to suffer. His crucifixion revealed the heart of His consistency. As one consistent in doing God’s will, when he was suffering in the garden of Gethsemane he prays for God’s will to be done and goes to the cross. On the cross, as the one who consistently expressed love in healing and provision, he prayed “Father forgive”. In his death, the perfectly consistent died for the inconsistent as was promised and his resurrection was the testimony to the consistency of every word he spoke.
Of course if God is inconsistent then we are all in big trouble. Consistency gives birth to confidence, the assurance of things that sometimes we can’t see.
None of us are God, though we might live like we are. It is good to know that our inconsistency can find in God forgiveness and a fresh start. But more than this, in Jesus Christ we find a model of consistency, and the content of consistency that can make such a difference to our community. It makes such a difference that some learned people have declared themselves to be “Christian Atheists”. They may not believe in God but they recognise the value of Christendom. Even the unbelieving Mark Latham in his inaugural speech in State Parliament recognised the integrity of Christ’s love, forgiveness, and truthfulness stating that the four greatest words in the English language are, “I am a Christian.” I don’t want to devalue the word Christian by reducing it to a lifestyle because, more than this, it is a relationship. Latham and others, however, do note the value, the all sided integrity, and the consistent outcomes of the Christian world view for a society like ours.
As the Government settles into place, as the opposition leader is crowned and as a nation gets on with business, let’s hope that those of varying religions and those with no religion might exercise consistency in what is good and not in foolishness, sin or evil.