3 Ways to Not Show You're a Follower of Christ

They’ll know you by your sticker on the back of your car?

Nope.

They’ll know you by the church merch you wear?

Not likely.

They’ll know you by the cross necklace you wear?

Not even close.

The other day I was driving with middle babe, Canon, and we saw a bumper stick on a car that I did not understand. I needed him to explain it and when he did I said, “that is so stupid”.

He goes, “mom, I have a necklace like that.”

To which I said, “it’s still totally and utterly stupid, and now I think that necklace is ridiculous.”

Don't worry, his feelings weren't stung, he knows how I feel about tchotchkes etc. All Canon did was sighed and rolled his eyes.


I get that a lot when they try to explain to me the trendy way people attempt to share their faith with humanity and I subsequently reject the notion of the efficacy of it all.

Church merch, one of the things my husband loathed the most.



Jesus said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

He shared this on the heels of telling His disciples He was giving them a new commandment, to love one another.

Funny isn’t how this was a new command? It’s always struck me odd that He needed to give His followers a new concept of Love. Apparently this was not the thought of the day with the rabbis. It certainly was to Hebrews back in the day, but at that particular point in time, when He walked the earth, Love each other was a bit foreign.

Incidentally, when you learn Hebrew on Duolingo, Love is one of the first words they teach. Telling, isn’t it?


In any case, as believers in the Messiah, literally we have one job, to share the incredible news of the gospel. We do this by demonstrating we follow Him. We do this by loving each other.

Church merch and cryptic bumper stickers (seriously what is it with those?) are not the way to say, “Hey! I have found freedom and healing from an incredibly loving God!”

Love is. It’s always the way.


 

But Love is such a foreign concept that we’ve been brow beaten to Love by condoning shenanigans and unsavory behavior that is against our perfect God.

So many shenanigans…

We cannot go by the world's warped standard of Love and frankly, we cannot always trust the Church to know and teach what true Love is.


This classic and often overused misquoted passage gives us a peek into actual true Love, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Here's one that is truncated on the idea and it's rich meaning- “The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31

The truncating comes in when someone doesn’t love themselves so how on earth can they love their neighbor as themselves? Perhaps we could spend a little less time chastising the Body of Christ into loving their neighbor and helping them find the Love of their Father?


Peter chimes in with his own spin on Love with this beauty, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”. I wonder where he got that idea from.


And finally this one, that I am near constantly praying over myself and my children, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

That bearing with one another indicates a putting up with one another’s nonsense until they mature and grow up into the sons of God they’re meant to. In another words, be patient with your sibling, they’ll get there, they just need time, prayer and a whole lot of grace.


Understand that a cool t-shirt, sticker, or necklace is not what Jesus had in mind when He mentioned that people would know how we are His disciples.


The answer is Love. It’s always Love.


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