Watching the news recently, it’s been easy to forget that Christians are clearly instructed to love others. The Christians we see on TV instead seem to be full of hate, violence, arrogance, and judgment. They are clearly ‘against’ many things, but not ‘for’ many things.
The problem is when we mix faith and politics. When we combine the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of this world. When we interpret the Bible through the lens of our own values, rather than letting it inform our values first.
Our religion is not a weapon to be drawn. Or a picket to be waved.
"Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world." (James 1:27, The Message)
God calls us to loving mercy.
Did anyone play ‘Follow the leader’ as a kid? Someone walks around a room, and you need to follow them as best as you can. If they walk to the right, you move to the right. They move to the left, so do you. If they lift their hands, your hands should be up in the air.
As Christians, we should be following the way of Jesus. He is our leader. We should be following his ways, his teachings, the way he lived. We have a Saviour who puts aside his own rights and freedoms for the sake of others. He put other’s needs above his own in the ultimate way.
Read through the Gospels and really dive into Jesus’s everyday interactions with people. Observe how he spoke, acted, and walked.
Jesus never shamed people for being poor. He fostered relationships with women, with the sick, with people of other faiths. He taught forgiveness, humility, self-sacrifice and inclusiveness.
When we are filled with pride and individualism like hot air balloons, we float away from the foundations of faith. When we come back to Jesus as our model, we are reminded what real religion and real love should look like.
A new commandment
Rather than focusing on ourselves, we should focus on others. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 ESV)
Rather than pride, find humility. “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” (James 4:6 ESV)
Our religion is real when our faith is characterised by action. This action looks like love.
God loves people. He loves us. In a sacrificial way. With justice, mercy, grace, compassion, loving kindness. And so this is how we are to love people.
Melanie is a young Christian and leader from Sydney, passionate about Jesus, creating a better world and appreciating the good things in life. She works for an NGO and serves at Northern Life Baptist Church.
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her socials.