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BEING LIKE JESUS, AT TIMES, CAN BE H-A-R-D!

On Sunday at church, my pastor preached on unity, focusing on loving our fellow brethren in the church. And coming from a multi-denominational church with over 100 nationalities, I thought to myself, “how in the world am I supposed to love all these people, when I struggle even to love the Starbucks barrister who spells my name wrong.” It can be a difficult task trying to love everyone if truth be told. With different personalities, I wonder how that is ever going to be possible. But then again, I was reminded that Jesus Christ died, even for the same people that killed him. How remarkable! I can’t even pretend to love anyone who tries to steal my seat in church, and then Christ went to the extreme length of actually dying for people He ought to have condemned! Ha! 


It’s easy for us to say, “I want to be like Jesus” until it comes the time to die. It’s easy to accept His forgiveness, but sometimes it’s tough to give it away. It’s easy to embrace the broken and the hopeless until their brokenness breaks us. Imagine looking into the eyes of the men beating you to death and knowing that with every punch, they’re one step closer to being forgiven for their brutality.

Did Jesus look at them with love? Anger? Devastation? I don’t know. But I do know He didn’t defend Himself. He didn’t argue. He didn’t even condemn them. The only time He spoke up was to confirm His identity. To declare that He was, in fact, the King of the Jews and then continued to submit Himself to torture. Sometimes being like Jesus is painful. Sometimes it means staying quiet, trusting in the faithfulness of God, and never letting go of who He says you are and the truth that He has a plan. I’m learning that if I want to be anything like Jesus, I have to start with humility. Ouch!


Anyone can show up to church on Sunday morning, raise their hands during worship, and say all of the right “churchy” phrases. Anyone can grab a microphone and share a message on stage about what being like Christ looks like. Anyone can post inspirational quotes and Bible verses on their social media feed about God. All of those things are good, but I have been learning that it’s more about what’s in the heart that really matters. We can do all these nice things to the public, but does our heart really honor God?

 
Being like Christ goes beyond what we do on Sunday morning, where everyone sees us. It’s how we treat the people who cut us off at the traffic on our way to work on Monday morning. It’s how we react to that coworker who pissed us off on Tuesday at work. It’s about how we treat that beggar on the street who wouldn’t stop asking you for money on Wednesday. Abraham Lincoln says, “you are only what you are when no one is looking,” and I couldn’t agree more.


As a Christian, I want my character and Christ within me to shine brighter than my personality, my words, or my good works. I want God, not the world, to see that I am the same guy during the week as I am on Sunday morning. Are we striving to be more and more like Jesus, no matter the cost? Are we living our lives to reflect Jesus to this world, or are we surrendering to societal pressures? Are we too worried about what the world thinks? The world is broken. The world needs Jesus, not a mirror image of itself. Folks, let’s be imitators of God, it’s always worth it. 

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