I’ve been sitting on this post for over six months trying to decide whether to post it. It’s out of my comfort zone and makes me feel nervous, and I’ve deleted it and rewritten it many times. But sometimes it’s important to be open about what you stand for and I have some things I want to say about my faith and the world right now.
I’ve posted about what I believe before, and what it means to me to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus, but I want to be really honest with you about my personal journey and where I am at today.
I was a Christian teenager in the 90’s, which means I grew up during the WWJD movement. The acronym stood for “What Would Jesus Do?” and the idea behind it was to encourage Christians to ask themselves this throughout the day, and model every action on Jesus himself.
Interestingly enough, as a Christian teenager, I actually missed the entire point, and failed a lot at the very heart of who Jesus is. I am a rule lover, I always have been, so I did pretty great at “morality” and doing my best not to do anything “wrong”. What I completely messed up at, was showing grace, love and forgiveness, and I ended up being a self righteous judgmental jerk.
Does this sound at all familiar to anyone?
Lately I’m seeing Christianity being blamed for a lot of things, and similarly a lot of people claiming their hateful thoughts and actions are Christian.
And I am becoming concerned. In fact I’m a little horrified.
Jesus preached forgiveness of sins, and love that covers all. He was a perfect model for being kind and compassionate. He spent his time with members of society who were rejected and considered undesirable or worthless. He showed them love and encouraged them to follow him and leave their old lives behind. He was infinitely inclusive and full of patience. He forgave and he was merciful. He was non-violent and lacked any hate. He did not force anyone to follow him- he gave them the option. He did not tow the line – he challenged the status quo. He was hated by the leaders of the day for his radical teachings. And he sacrificed, giving his very life as atonement for anyone who will take it.
And as a Christian, THIS is what I should be trying to emulate in my own life.
So here I am in 2018 and I am asking myself that question again, and again and again: What would Jesus do?
And this time, I know the answer begins and ends with the love of Jesus. I have already made the mistake of misunderstanding what it means to be a Christian and I never want to go back.
I am doubling down on reading Jesus’ words. I am doubling down on praying for God to show me what more I can do. For strength to do better than yesterday. I am doubling down on holding myself accountable to the example of Jesus every day. I will give more. I will love more. And if I stumble, I will get back up and try again tomorrow.
This is where I stand.
Whoever you are reading this, you are welcome here. I promise you kindness and friendship. When I say I am a Christian I am not describing a culturally conservative personally identity. I am telling you that I am an imperfect person fully aware of my short comings and trying to follow Jesus’ loving example every day.
And on the flip side I am hoping that when you see someone using the name of Jesus or Christianity as their excuse for thinking or doing something terrible, that you will remember this post.