That song, “They will know we are Christians by our love by our love…” is daunting for many of us Christians. As one of my students asked me recently, “Ms. HD, what is a Christian?” I replied, “Anyone who follows Jesus Christ, believing that he is the son of God who was crucified and rose on the third day from the dead and is now with God the Father in Heaven.” Those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow his ways are Christians. Is it more than a belief? Is it a lifestyle? Or is it possibly complete surrender of your “own” life to God?
We, Americans, believe that we have control, that we “own” our beliefs, identity, ideas, and even our lives. We may believe that Jesus was in fact the son of God and perhaps that he rose from the dead. However, we also believe that we can worship and love Jesus from a comfy distance. We can live whatever type of life we want and still hold a belief. We can do this but would we be authentically Christian if it were just a belief and not a way of life? Jesus Christ brought the marginalized to him, he flipped the culture upside down and shook up the beliefs of the time. Jesus Christ loved so much that he surrendered his own life for the good of others.
How do we treat the marginalized? How do we love? Do we only love those who love us back? How do we challenge our culture of individualism, materialism, racism, sexism, and violence? Will we surrender our lives, not physically but emotionally, and fully, by following God’s call to be who He created us to be? Do we take the time to pray, to listen to his voice, to discern where God wants us to go in life?
I suppose the truest test is if someone was watching you for 20 minutes in your every day life would they recognize you as a Christian? Would they notice by the ways that you love others? If they would not see that, then change. There is time to start over, every moment is a new moment to begin to love. Take a moment to evaluate what others realistically witness when you are observed. Pray about the answer and listen for God to guide you. God will guide you but you have to do the difficult work of living a truly Christian life. Can you do it? Will you do it?