They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love
I think I just might boycott cable television news for the next five months--maybe even longer than that. Six to eight months might do it, to be honest. By then the election will be over, and the madness with it.
The other day I made the mistake of turning on the TV in the morning to watch the news and catch up on what had been happening since the last time I'd watched. It took me just a few moments to realize why I'd turned it off the last time. I can sum it up in two words: Phony Outrage.
It felt like every single person on TV that morning was filled with phony outrage: presidential candidates, pundits, politicians, reporters, talking heads... everyone. It seems as though there wasn't a single topic, a single story that didn't evoke phony outrage from someone.
I've noticed this same kind of behavior among Christians, lately. It's funny how the dominant Christian voices in our culture always seem to be decrying how the Church is becoming too much like "the world," while so many of us act exactly like "the world" when it comes to our phony outrage.
An alarming number of those of us who call ourselves Christians are far too eager to boycott, protest and malign when we feel threatened or offended.
And if I am being honest, I've had my own bouts with this same malady. I'll hear about something some vocal Christian leader or pastor said or did that I disagree with, and I feel a weariness come over me, and my phony outrage wells up inside before spilling out in a flood.
In 1 Peter 2:12, the Apostle Peter admonished first century Christians to be aware of the people around them who were not Christians and to live in wholesome, winsome, welcoming and loving ways so that people would see the evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus in their lives.
"People who do not believe are living all around you," he wrote to them, "and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will glory to God on the day when Christ comes again."
In essence, what Peter is saying here is that Christians should live such Jesus-filled lives that by their very actions people will want to follow Christ.
Further, in that same letter, Peter declares this: "Now that you have made your souls pure by obeying the truth, you can have true love for your Christian brothers and sisters. So love each other deeply with all your heart." (1:24)
The world is watching--not just how we act toward those "who do not believe," but also toward our "Christian brothers and sisters." Jesus told his followers that they were the "light of the world," and then likened them to a well lit "city on a hill" that "cannot be hidden." It's time to live into that truth.
May we shine our light so that the world can see Jesus better. May the world know that we are Christians by our love, and not by our slogans. May we show forbearance, grace and mercy not just to those outside of the Christian community, but also within it. And may people come to follow Christ not just by what we say, but by how we act.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.