Not being an ordained minister, I am fairly uncomfortable in any attempt to try and tell someone how they should or should not live their individual lives. I want to believe I am not that judgmental. But as I continue my own walk, I find it becoming obvious that as a Christian certain behaviors are acceptable, while some are expected. The more I read and study, the easier it becomes to understand that what we do every day should reflect in some small way the truth of what we believe in. It’s the "what we believe in" part that others should see in us as we navigate all that awaits us in a secular world full of trials and temptations.
So the way we carry ourselves actually means something. Those words, which ordinarily have little operational substance, actually become living principles rooted in our psyche once we embrace what it means to live a Christian life. Now I am not speaking of those things we generally associate with spiritual existence. I am talking about those things we understand as simple concepts that are incredibly powerful tools to live by: kindness, love, mercy, forgiveness, humility. If you notice for this example, I didn’t mention faith in God or sacrifice or any other spiritually based motivation for your behavior. I didn’t because I believe many of us feel it is an impossible task to live the Christian life. But broken down to its essence, how difficult is it to be courteous, nice, humble and charitable without knowing the first thing about faith? So when people say it’s so hard to live a Christian life, what are they really saying? When people refer to Christians as being holier than thou, what are they really saying? Can you see how complex we can make a really simple pattern of thought and an even simpler pattern of conduct? What we’re really talking about is a simple set of guidelines by which you and I should behave.
Now for Christians, the foundation for such behavior is specific and unyielding. It does not change. It is one of those constants in life that gives our life purpose and meaning. Simply stated, we are deliberately trying to be Christ-like. We are trying to demonstrate our beliefs and our faith through our behavior. The imperfections that we all have do not, in and of themselves, negate our efforts to let the world see Jesus in us. Christ was killed because He acted upon his belief. The whole world knew then and knows today what He stood for, like it or not. I’d like to think that even if the world doesn’t know what I stand for, it certainly knows who I stand with. Therefore, don’t be surprised if my first reaction now is to give instead of take, to forgive rather than hold a grudge and believe it or not, try to love instead of hate. So excuse me if I want to see the best in others rather than the worse. Allow me to at least try not to judge you or be jealous of you, to not be envious but always be thankful for the blessings that I have. In short I love the Lord and I’m trying to love you.
Through my rebirth, I pray my integrity and honesty and values take on a new meaning. I want to internalize that I am indeed a new creature. Don’t read between the lines. I am what you see. Hopefully you’ll get a glimpse of the Holy Spirit. Just remember I am a marvelous miraculous movie and not a snapshot taken at my worst. When you look at me, know the movie is not over; neither is yours.
May God bless and keep you always, James