I'm always a little hesitant to start political or religious conversations because they tend to bring a lot of tension and controversy. But I really felt like this was important for me to write about as my faith plays a huge role in my life, beliefs, and choices. Before I start I also just want to preface this by saying I am not an expert, I am still learning and growing, and I want to hear and learn from others. I feel like sharing things in this space allows me to digest and process my thoughts and hopefully receive feedback from you all.
I was reading my Bible the other morning in John 13 and read the verse that says, "By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Jesus was instructing his disciples and preparing them for his departure and coming death. I've read this verse many times and yet this time it really hit me in a different way then it has before. I started thinking about the current climate in our country, there's a lot of anger, evil, and hate with people groups against each other. In many ways it's been hard for me to figure out what being a Christian looks like in this time. As I've stated before, I struggle with people pleasing and tend to submit to others view points out of fear, whether of being judged, attacked, or questioned. I think every people group whether it be a religion, race, or political party in some way and at some point has been or is being misrepresented by extremists. I have to admit, I have been afraid and somewhat embarrassed at points to be associated with "Christianity". Christians often are labeled as haters or judges who reject those who don't align with their views or beliefs. I didn't want anyone to think that was me or what I believed in. I think it's taken me way longer than it should have to realize that I'm not following a religious group or church of imperfect people but I'm following Jesus Christ and I want to represent Him. If you read the gospels and see how Jesus lived you would see that He was quite the opposite of the hater. He sat and ate with the lowly and those rejected by society and loved them. And instead he rejected those who judged, the rule followers, the religious leaders who viewed themselves as perfect. I need to remember that others actions as Christians do not represent my relationship with God and the actions I choose to take. I want people to know me by the love I give and by the joy I have because of Jesus. But I don't just want that for me, I want all believers to be known by their love, because as Jesus said, by this all people will know who we are and who we are representing because God is love.
I know the WWJD tagline is pretty cheesy but if you actually take the phrase and really think about it in whatever situation you are in, what would Jesus do? We should be choosing to do that. And whether you believe in God or not, you can't deny that choosing to love rather than choosing anger, vengeance, or judgement is the best and most powerful thing. It heals impossibly painful wounds, it brings freedom from anger, and has the power to change people. So choose love because love wins.