Right now, it feels shameful to say that I’m a Christian. Not because I am doing something wrong but because the meaning of this word “Christian” has become a negative tag-word for politicians to draw in flocks of followers for their votes.
A Christian is not, however, someone who perpetuates racism, hatred, violence, capitalism, greed, arrogance, or self-worship. A Christian is someone who follows Jesus. The term literally means “little Christ.” And the idea behind that, when the term was first coined, was a bit like a woman saying that her child looks and acts like the kid’s father. “She’s just a little Tom all over again!”
In these tumultuous times, I’ve seen a lot of people angry with so-called Christian politicians (I am, too!). And with the people claiming they are Christians but who are throwing tear gas at peaceful protestors, the people who are refusing to wear masks for “freedom’s sake” without caring about the lives of those around them, the people who are spouting hurtful diatribes against people who don’t look and act like them.
I have to say “so-called” Christian because these behaviors aren’t at all like Jesus. And saying you’re a Christian while putting capitalism, political affiliations, and yourself ahead of the lives of others is not like Jesus at all.
In Philippians 2:6-8, the Apostle Paul writes about the true person of Jesus.
“Who, being in very nature God,
[Jesus] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”
When I look at this true example of love and mercy, I have to ask that trite saying that hung on wrists in the 1990s, “What would Jesus do?”
It’s pretty clear from His example throughout the Scriptures that Jesus wouldn’t harm others. He wouldn’t refuse to wear a mask so that He could “be free” to do as he likes. He wouldn’t use His privilege to make money or save corporations and buildings. He gave Himself, considering Himself nothing compared to the lives that He would save – and He was gentle, kind, and loving about it.
What would Jesus do? He’d fight to save the lives and souls of those who are marginalized – and He’d throw over tables of cheats and thieves who use their religion as a “way in” to get what they want from the people around them. Those actions led up to his sole mission which was to offer reconciliation between man and God.