I don't have all the answers. I don't understand everything that I'd like to understand about God - or Scripture - or the Church. In fact, sometimes, I think I have more questions than answers.
But - I have faith.
I BELIEVE that God created the world and everything in it - out of love. I BELIEVE that He loves me (and everyone) beyond any love that we can ever possibly experience from another human being - no matter the relationship.
I BELIEVE that God is infinitely wiser than all earthly wisdom - especially my own. (1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom....)
I BELIEVE that Scripture is the SACRED WORD OF GOD. I BELIEVE that Scripture was intended as a GIFT from Him - in order to guide us and to give us hope. I BELIEVE He is incensed when we hurl Scripture verses at others as a weapon to shame or condemn. (John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.) GOD IS LOVE. I BELIEVE that when we read Scripture and can only see where 'others' fall short, that Satan is reading with us.
I BELIEVE that the Church - by the very reason of it's existence - has the responsibility to teach the Word of God as it has been interpreted and understood. The Church has the obligation to speak truth in order to be true to its mission - not change God's Word, in order to please the world. I BELIEVE the Church has the authority to teach - as Christ taught. I do not believe the Church has the right to try to 'force' it's teaching on anyone. 160 Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. "For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom. . . grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself." Catechism of the Catholic Church
I recognize that Jesus was compassionate and merciful to those whom the 'righteous' condemned as 'sinful' - and I remember that He taught 'For in the same way I judge others, I will be judged and the measure I use, will be measured to me.' (Matthew 7:2) I have determined that the measuring stick I use will be very long indeed!
I don't understand everything I read in Scripture. I don't understand everything the Church teaches. I focus on what I DO understand and try to grow from there. Scripture says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) My humility tells me that the fact that I don't understand something does not thereby make it 'wrong'. The fact that I don't understand - is simply that. God has not given me this understanding. He wants me to trust Him. Fair enough. He's God. I'm not.
I BELIEVE that I am a sinner - that we are all SINNERS. There is no greater sinner than me. I love God with all my heart - but I'm human - and I sin. I am weak. I freely acknowledge that fact. Lucky for me - Jesus is a friend of sinners. John 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners' but wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
I BELIEVE that God allows me to grow in His likeness even through my sin. I BELIEVE that when I focus on being a 'doer' of the Word (as I understand it) and not just a 'hearer', He strengthens me and allows me to grow in His wisdom and love. However small the steps I take, God is with me.
When I forgive someone who has hurt me, I have taken a step. When I offer food or clothing to the poor, I have taken a step. When I acknowledge my pride and the fact that my opinion isn't always right, I have taken a step. When I have put someone's feelings or well being before my own, I have taken a step. When I love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, I have taken a step. I might take 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards, but God sees my steps. I BELIEVE that a calculated step forward is more noticeable to God than 2 slips in the wrong direction.
I BELIEVE that God loves me. I fall short of the ideal He has for me, I know. But, still, He loves me. And that is enough to make me want to please Him!
I don't have all the answers. But, thank God, I have my faith.