I went to see a movie today: God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness. I enjoyed it. Made me think. When the church was attacked because it conflicted the beliefs of some students and faculty, the pastor reacted in anger. He didn’t act like a follower of Christ.
I see this kind of reaction so often by “Christian” people. I believe a follower of Christ should follow the example Jesus set while he walked on the earth. Yes, he became angry and chased the money changers out of the temple. They were violating the purpose of the temple and taking unfair advantage of those who came to the temple to worship. But when He himself was attacked, whipped and eventually hung to die, he endured it all without a reaction. He taught his followers to show love to one another in such a way that others would know they were His disciples.
So many terrible things are done by people who call themselves “Christian”. So many un-Christ-like things are done by those who attend church, sing songs about God, and proclaim to love Jesus. Why is this? Admittedly, none of us are perfect, no matter how much we actually do love God. We fail because we are human, but perhaps we fail more because we don’t take the time or make the effort to spend time in the presence of God, therefore His Word and His Spirit cannot dominate our lives.
Our job as Christians is to be a ‘light in darkness’. We cannot be a light in darkness when our lives and our behaviors are the same as those around us who are not Christian. The only way we can shine is when we love others who do not show love to us, forgive those who wrong us or our loved ones, and refuse to negatively react to things with which we disagree or do not like. ‘Tolerance’ does not mean to agree with, it means to endure that which goes against our opinions or beliefs. We endure with patience and love the opinions or lifestyles of those who are different than us. We cannot, must not, forget the love part. That’s important if we want to be a light in darkness.
A young student in the movie says to the pastor “Our generation knows what the church is against, but we don’t know what it’s for” [paraphrased]. I think that is a true statement. As people of God, we should proclaim the good, positive things we, the Church, are for. We should be telling of the goodness of God, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, His blessings. Those around us should know that we are the apple of His eye. They should hear that there’s no wrong God won’t forgive. They will know that when we forgive those who wrong us. They will know God’s love when they see us demonstrate it consistently.
I am challenged to live a more Christ-like life so I will be a light shining in the darkness.