They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love

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Warning: The following contains a not so nice post. I’m ranting, if you will.  Please do not read if you are uncomfortable with cynicism or criticism. 

You were warned.

 I have just about had it with Christians – and I am one. And by that I mean that I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, he is the Son of God, he died and was victorious over death and by that sacrifice and miracle, I am a Daughter of the KING. I believe that. For most of my life, I have been very busy in ‘ministry’. I’ve been a Sunday School teacher, a VBS director, youth leader, worship leader, worship team member, I wrote curriculum for nearly everything. I loved being involved. For years, though, I’d look around and wonder why we really weren’t making much of a difference in our world.

 And then I stepped out of my bubble – my nice little church bubble where all the people were Christians and were members of my church, and all my friends were Christians, too. I liked that climate controlled bubble, and I’ve got to admit that some days I long for that comfort and that kinship. It can wear on a soul to be on the outside, because being out here nearly brings me to tears every day.

Because out here the masks are off and the smiles are gone.

Years ago,  I announced through an ad in the local paper that I was a Christian mom seeking to provide day care for children in my home. I ran that ad for over a month, and it went unanswered. I was a bit surprised that when I took the word ‘Christian’ out of my ad the next month, I had more calls than I knew what to do with. I didn’t understand that back then, but I have a very good idea now. 

The world is skeptical of Christians. And rightfully so. 

I have seen a lot of ugly stuff in my job as a child welfare worker. I knew I would when I first started, but I’ve been a bit surprised at the type of ugly I have seen. When I first started my job and I needed to find a home for a child, I would hope that a Christian home could be found. I had this idea that a hurting, abused, unloved child could experience the love of Jesus in a Christian home. And here’s the ugly: I haven’t found that to be true.  

What I have found to be true is that these hurting, abused, unloved children become targets and projects. And they get to learn how they just don’t measure up to our Christian expectations. They get to learn what is just not acceptable in the climate controlled bubble – The Can’ts if you will.  Because, you see, many of us Christians get in to a rut, I think. We dress up so that we can fit in that perfect climate controlled bubble. We get our masks on, wear the perfect costumes. But we don’t show love.

 Quite frankly, Christians, it’s time we step up and act like our Savior. We don’t need a degree in Greek or Hermanuetical studies to get that. It is time to put down our building tools, Church. We don’t need bigger, fancier, hipper stuff. We don’t need programs and committees. We really don’t need to have one more Bible study on the shelf to buy or one more meeting at the church to go to. We’ve had all that stuff and we still can’t show the world Jesus. 

Each one of us needs a mirror – the lighted, magnified make up mirrors that show every pore, blemish and wart.

We have not allowed the Holy Spririt to reign in us. We have not allowed the love of God to indwell in us. I think it’s time that we get our noses out of our little rule books and we certainly need to quit slapping people around with our expectations. The world gets what we don’t believe in. We tell them all the time.

Seriously. Have we ever thought of giving water to a thirsty person for the sake of quenching his thirst?

In John’s account of the Gospel, Jesus said that the whole world will know that we are his disciples by the love we show each other. Church, I have come to the conclusion that there might be a whole world full of Christians. I just don’t think there are very many disciples.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, 

 would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, 

I would be nothing. 

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; 

but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

 

Love is patient and kind. 

Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. 

It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. 


But love will last forever! 

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, 

and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 

But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.


When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. 

But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, 

but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. 

 All that I know now is partial and incomplete, 

but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.


Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

 

—Saint Paul, from the Bible

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