When someone says he or she is a Christian, it can elicit two reactions from people—either they back off knowing that you will spit something judgmental about them or they will be drawn to you because they know you won’t judge them, instead you will love them.
Lately I’ve been reading the book UnChristian and listening to the podcast of Andy Stanley’s series entitled Christian. So you see I’ve been bombarded with truth that cut so deep it made my heart so heavy with undeniable realities. I had to go back and look at the life of Jesus, the one true authentic model for Christians. I realized that if so-called Christians lived the way Jesus lived and loved the way Jesus loved things would’ve turned out differently.
Jesus loved the “taboo” people. His love was radical back then when He dined with the hated tax collectors. His love was scandalous when He graciously dealt with the woman caught in adultery. He was what you would call a controversial Christian. If He lived in the 20th century, He would dine with corrupt government officials, talk with the young prostitute on the street, and listen to the misunderstood homosexual. Jesus would not fear being seen with them because He only had one thing in mind—He loved them.
I was won over to Christianity because of love. Someone showed extraordinary judgment-free love to me. I didn’t become a Christian because a person told me that I’ll burn in hell. In fact, I would never even consider being one if that was the selling point. I came face to face with a loving Savior who assured me that He loves me, He knows ALL my sins but doesn’t judge me, He forgives me, and He wants me to be reconciled with Him. The love that Jesus offers is so outrageous that I couldn’t help but say YES, I ACCEPT YOUR LOVE AND I WANT TO FOLLOW YOU.
Being a Christian is simply being a follower of Jesus. In fact, being a Christian was a derogatory term during the time of the disciples. It was a term used by non-Jesus followers to call the Jesus followers. It’s like calling someone nigger instead of saying he’s African-American. Jesus called His followers DISCIPLES. When you’re a disciple, you follow what your teacher or master tells you. It’s like for your every move, you will consult Him. For example, if someone betrays you, you will ask Jesus what He would do and you’ll do it. It will be like that for every situation.
Imagine how things will change if Christians stopped being mere Christians and become authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. There is only one distinguishing mark that people will recognize when a person is a follower of Jesus. With emphasis Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Our love should be so out of this world that people from the outside couldn’t help but be drawn and take a peek at what’s going on in our families and communities. Our love should be so welcoming that people don’t feel ashamed to ask for advice because they know you’ll speak the truth in love.
It was the revolutionary love of Jesus that overthrew the worship of power tripping Greek and Roman gods. In Jesus, people knew a God who loves, accepts, and reaches out. His love was beautifully controversial and 1st century disciples exhibited that. Believers of Jesus grew by the thousands each day during that time. The way they loved each other, cared for the sick, assisted the widows and orphans, restored the lost back to Jesus were astounding. His love was the most sensational news the world has ever known and it is only by this kind of love that all Christians should be known for.
My desire for all professing Christians, including myself is that we’ll be known for how we love and not for how we hate. Christians are often known to be against something instead of being for something. Jesus’ raw pure love should be the standard we all follow. If I’ll be known as a Christian I want to be the radical, scandalous, controversial one—much like my Master and Savior.