Christianity, faith

I am a…Christian?

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-36

Hi, friends. I’m sorry I haven’t posted since the beginning of the week. Besides being busy at work I’m also not feeling the greatest. So my mind has been moving EXTRA slow. 🙂

Although I’ve been quiet the last few days, I have been trying to pay more attention to God’s work in my life. Listening to His Word through Pastors, praise music and books. I’ve also been extra vigilant in paying attention this week because I feel like Satan is making a bit of an extra effort with me. I won’t go into all the details but I feel like he’s both, trying to distract me from God’s Word (and His promises) and have me look extra long at all my ‘issues’. Being both a person and a woman I don’t need a whole lot of help on the latter one.

I was reminded this week, while reading a BBC news article, how often people tend to take Scripture out of context. I don’t remember what incident the article was speaking of but several of the people commenting were bashing religion with special emphasis on Christianity. One individual posted Psalm 137: 9- “Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks.” Yeah, that seems pretty brutal. However if you look at the context in the whole it is telling a story about the people of God being in captivity and the consequences for those who placed them there. The comments hit home how the word ‘Chrisitan’ is once again meant, more often than not, to belittle someone. It can seem like that for us who consider ourselves ‘Christians’ too.

This, along with the Scripture above, were discussed in the Bible study this week at my church. We are just starting the Andy Stanley series ‘Christian’. To say that the video shown and the discussion at my table were powerful would be an understatement. One of the many points made by Andy Stanley really convicted me. When/if someone asks if I am a Christian or what my religion is, how do I answer? Do I say proudly that I am a Christian? Or do I say I am a Christian with a bit of an explanation? “I am but I don’t believe like that group does.” “I am but that doesn’t mean I don’t love those around me.” And the list can go on…

The fact that we tend to feel the need to have a follow-up explanation for our faith really hits home…and it hurts. It hurts because I am NOT ashamed that I have given my life to my Christ, to Jesus (hence my new tattoos). But it shows that the term ‘Christian’ really doesn’t have a specific and detailed definition. It is a term that is too easily used and abused.

During the Bible study I learned that the word ‘Christian’ only appears three times within the scriptures. And each time it is meant as a derogatory term. You can equate it to terms for different nationalities or races that we all (I hope) find repulsive-words that we would find offensive if someone used around us or toward us.

Part of the problem is that we don’t act like Jesus told us to. As the Scripture above states..we need to ‘love each other’ as Jesus loves us. Loves not loved. He loves us, as we are-sinful people. You see, we all have issues. Sins that we struggle with. But people have a tendency to rate sins. ‘Oh, my sin isn’t as bad as hers!’….guess what? Any sin, big or small, seperates us from God. He isn’t there saying- ‘oh, I’ll let her in, she just lies on ocassion but I’m not letting him in, he’s an adulterer.’ No, No, No! If we have given our lives to Jesus, ALL those sins are washed away. He remembers them no more.

We remember though. We remember the hurt when we were cheated on. We remember the pain of the nasty names someone called us. We remember being excluded from a group of people…we remember. We remember and we hold onto those hurts, those pains and those memories and we allow them to influence how we treat others.

Although there are times where we will need to seperate ourselves from certain individuals, it shouldn’t be the ‘go to’ choice. I struggle with this as well. It is all too easy for me to avoid someone that I don’t particularly care for rather than treating them with the love and grace God shows me on a daily basis. Yep, I’ve definitely been called out this week. 😦

I’ve been called out to act like Jesus had told us to. LOVE EACH OTHER. Not, love each other if you like each other. Not, love each other if they haven’t done any wrong to you (or someone you love). AND Not, love each other if your both Christians…NO! LOVE EACH OTHER, as I have Loved you-Jesus said. Why? Because…”Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Disciples…not to prove you are Christians but to prove that you are DISCIPLES of Jesus.

Two statements that Andy Stanley made toward the end of the video that I love…

“Be a ridiculous lover of those around you.”

“We ALL fall short of our own standards, let alone God’s standards.” (meaning-don’t be so tough on others when we can’t live up to our own standards)

To close-I heard this in one of the sermons I heard this week (I’m sorry I don’t remember which)…

“The Cliffnote version of the Bible-‘Love one another'”

So, I am going to challenge you as we were challenged by our Pastor…do your best over the next week to fulfill this new commandment. “Love one another as I have loved you.” It’ll make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Have a blessed day.

With Lots of love and in Jesus’ precious name.

Tara

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