Showing Jesus to Christians

Like most of us here at Eastern, I am a Christian. Like all of us here, I have my own interpretation of what that means. To me, being a Christian boils down to loving others. To me, being a Christian means putting more effort into removing the log from my eye than removing the speck from my neighbor’s. To me, being a Christian demands a liberal agenda. I think Eastern should definitely fully accept the LGBTQ community in both their student and employee bodies. I think electing Donald Trump would be a travesty, something I worry about in a very sincere way.

I’m not writing to convince anyone that I’m correct. Not because I think such an attempt would be futile, or because I think relativity should be the rule. I’m simply writing to try to establish the necessary conditions for such a debate to take place: it will be impossible for any progress to be made if we can’t respect one another enough to listen, much less to compromise or change our opinions. The current political climate should be sufficient proof of this necessity.

As Christians, we talk a lot about showing love to outsiders. I’ve heard a lot of sermons about welcoming visitors and prayers about “being Jesus” for people who might not otherwise get a chance to encounter Him. But what I think is lacking–in myself perhaps even more than in others–is being the Jesus we know to other Christians.

The Jesus I know, the Jesus I’ve read about in the Bible and learned about in Sunday school and discussed in Bible studies and encountered in prayer…that Jesus is truly Love. This concept makes sense to me when it comes to interacting with people who don’t even claim to know Jesus. But when it comes to other Christians, sometimes I’m so appalled by what they say that I definitely do not show love.

I can’t be the only one who faces this conflict on a daily basis. Whether hearing someone declare their absolute faith in Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, or hearing me talk about how abhorrent that is, makes your skin crawl, there have to be moments when you can’t believe that a Christian could really believe that. My response in these moments is usually anger and hostility.

My response to hearing hatred where I was arguing for love was hatred. I thought I was being so good by loving “sinners” when I realized I wasn’t loving everyone. How could I preach tolerance when I couldn’t tolerate intolerant people?

But I think for me the really revolutionary moment was when I realized that I had the chance to show the Jesus I know to more people, the people who already think they know Him. It’s about more than just being a decent person: it’s about being a Light in the lives of people who may already think their lives have plenty of Light.

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