I’ve had a lot of people asking my opinion on the recent Jenner news, specifically, how I think a Christian should respond. Well, I debated on posting anything, but I finally decided to go for. So, here it is.
If you’ve grown up in the Church, you’ve probably been told that we are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world. You probably had a t-shirt with this phrase, maybe even had it engraved on a journal, or one of those rubber bracelets. We are in the world but not of the world. That’s such a difficult concept, especially when it comes to proving that you are “not of the world.” How is anyone supposed to know that you are in this world, but not of it, and what does that even look like?
For people to know that I’m a disciple of Christ, I have to have some way of proving it. I have to spend so many hours at church, volunteer with some many organizations, go on so many mission trips, baptize so many people… But what if they don’t see that?
Maybe if I study and memorize tons of scriptures to be able to quote just the right one at just the right time. Maybe if I get a degree in religion, or I work for the church. Maybe if I live a morally perfect life. Maybe if I point out how awful other people are, then people will know that I am in this world but not of it.
That must be it! I know I can’t be perfect, that’s why I need Jesus, but if I can point out how sinful other people are, then everyone will know that I am not of this world. I will write all about how wicked and terrible this world is on Facebook, and I’ll tweet about how wretched people in the press are. Then, people will know that I’ve got it all straight. And, I’ll be able to show people just how much they need Jesus to heal their broken, sinful, nasty souls.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that are you my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
By this everyone will know that you are my disciplines. Everyone will know… If you love one another.
That seems too simple. Surely, there’s more to it! There must be something else that I can do to prove to people that I am a follower of Christ. I mean, come on, “love one another”? What does that even look like?
It looks like being patient while waiting in the line at the grocery store. It looks like smiling at strangers and saying a kind word to someone having a bad day. It looks like forgiving people, time and time again. It looks like biting your tongue when something you want to say might be hurtful to someone else. It looks like standing up to a bully in order to protect someone else.
It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It doesn’t tally up how many times a person fails. It doesn’t compare people to some set of ideal behaviors. It doesn’t air people’s dirty laundry for entertainment.
Love doesn’t look like proving how wrong someone else is, or pointing out someone else’s sins. Love doesn’t look like refusing to serve people, demeaning them, beating them, or blasting them on the internet just because they believe or live differently than you.
Love looks like finding a woman caught in adultery, being perfectly within your right to condemn her to death, and speaking kindly to her and protecting her from the crowd. Love looks like sitting with the tax collectors and sinners at dinner. Love looks like washing the feet of your friends. Love looks like laying down your life so that others may know the love of God.
To love one another is a simple command, but it is not an easy one to fulfill. The world will know that you are a disciple of Christ if you love one another with an all consuming, never-ending, love. That’s the love that saved us from this broken, condemned world, and that’s the love that we need to show to everyone around us.