We talk about love on this blog, and we talk about it a lot. In fact my goal is that every reader would become a love extremist. Nothing will deter us from our mission of spreading love to each other, our neighbors and the world. Love is the central tenant of Christianity; we love others because Christ loved us and commanded us to do the same to others. We are committed to following Christ and living as He did. Therefore, we are committed to love.
If Christianity is all about love, why then are Christians so hated, and Christianity so reviled around the world? I believe it is a matter of the message that we present to that world. For many years, we have presented a message of what Christians DON’T do. If you’ll excuse the generalizations, realize that many Christians do indeed do these things, and also realize that none of them prevent a person from being a Christian, I offer this list of things we tell the world that Christians don’t do. We don’t drink, cuss, do drugs, gamble, sleep around, engage in homosexual activity, lust, lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, look at pornography, gossip, or get jealous. And oh yes, we also don’t associate with anyone who does these things. Thus, we present Christianity as an exclusive, intolerant, holier than thou club. God forgive us.
We need to reverse the message. We need to get over ourselves, our ego and our piety, and begin telling the world the list of things Christians DO. We care for the sick, provide clothing for the needy, feed the poor and take in the orphan and the widow. In other words, we love. We are a body of imperfect, but loving and wholly accepting people. We need to deliver a positive message of hope, a message of what we as Christians believe and do. As we tear down the walls of injustice and intolerance, others will be able to better see the hope in the love of Jesus.
I am not enough of an historian to tell you how it is we got to where we are today. How did we go from the first century church that shared all they had with any in need and accepted all who came, to the modern church of greed, apathy, indifference and condemnation? We turn away those who look different, dress different, or engage in lifestyles we deem inappropriate. We turn our backs on those who have had abortions, cast out those who were unfaithful in their marriage and turn away those desperate for a meal. What have we become? We’ve become a people with a list of things we won’t do at the sacrifice of things that we should do.
What is your message? Who are you telling the world that you are? Who are you telling others that Christ is? If you are delivering a message of don’ts, reverse your message. Let people know who you are and what you do because of what Christ did for you. Put aside your prejudice and tradition and exchange them for a life devoted to living out the love you have received from Christ. We are Christians. We love as we are loved. This is who we are. This must be our message to the world.