“acting like Christians”

If you watch TV or listen to the radio or online news at all, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to realize we are completely inundated right now with election news. Much of it is negative. This person is a liar, that person changed their mind, and there is also a lot of noise—surprisingly—about presidential candidates’ faith. At times, I feel I have heard a lot more about a particular candidate’s religious background than I have even heard of what he or she wants to do for the country!

We are also hearing various judgments—from other presidential candidates or from evangelical leaders and others— about what they deem to be true when it comes to a person’s heart. The questions usually have to do with if these people believe in Christ, if they attend church on a regular basis, and if there is fruit in their lives from the Holy Spirit. Most of you know I grew up as a pastor’s kid, which means I’ve felt judged and in a bit of a fishbowl my whole life! I was a pretty good kid. I usually didn’t dare to do too much deemed wrong because in a small town of about 40,000 people, it was inevitable someone would see me and news would reach my parents before I even got home! I felt there were standards for how I behaved, and of course, to some extent, there are, as we represent Christ as Christians. All of that said, as Christians, we are sure good at judging one another! And the presidential election brings out that human quality like nothing else.

The other evening, our son, Sammy, asked me how God makes everyone different. He wanted to know why everyone looks and acts differently than one another. For a 6 year old, he has landed on a simple truth many of us forget: it’s okay to be different! God has created each one of us in His image but to be unique from one another, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). If that’s true, why do we cast judgments on those who are different from us?

A scripture that has resonated with me for the last several years, particularly as we watch mainline churches struggle with various issues, is 2 Corinthians 5:18-19: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”

In an election season, the push is for all of us to agree on every issue and for a candidate’s faith to mirror our own. The same danger exists in churches. We can argue about our brothers and sisters and if they “act like Christians,” believe and behave just as we do, prefer the same style of worship; we can argue down to carpet color! But why spend our time doing so? Our gracious God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, and we are His ambassadors. Glorifying Jesus Christ is our mission, and at Easter we celebrate the reconciliation with God we have through Him. We were created for relationship with Him and with one another.

So this Easter, may we enjoy the amazing fellowship and body of believers He has given us. We are all different. We are all unique. And we are all wonderfully made. Praise be to God, our Creator, who has gifted us with such a diverse family.

Happy Easter to you and yours!

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