I realized a few years back that different people have different interpretations of what it means to “be like Jesus”. Many times we aren’t even aware of our differences; we just get upset when someone doesn’t behave the way that we do!
For instance, you could try to justify violent behavior by saying, “Didn’t Jesus whip the money changers when He ran them out of the Temple?”
Yes, you could say that, but let me ask another question –
Was whipping the money changers the hallmark of His ministry? In other words, is that what people primarily remember about Jesus?
What was Jesus’ life about? Was it known for who He drove out, or whom He welcomed in? Sometimes the answer to that question depends upon where you stand.
I believe that, for the Sadducees and Pharisees, they remember Jesus as “that violent guy who was trying to destroy everything we hold dear. We HAD to crucify Him, because He was threatening us!”
But for the woman at the well, the thief on the cross, the man healed on the Sabbath, they knew Jesus as that person who was more concerned about their healing than He was in living up to society’s expectations. Rules were not as important as relationships. Healing was more important than habits.
“To be more like Jesus” to me means that I am less concerned with keeping what I have and more concerned with giving others dignity. There may be times when a strong stand is needed, but if we look closely at Jesus’ ministry, those times were few and far between – and they involved Him sacrificing Himself, not others.
I have found that whenever I feel as if I have to defend Jesus or defend the faith, it’s really not Jesus that I’m defending. He could do a very good job of that on His own! No, what I am usually reacting to is my own fears and doubts, and I get upset when someone else points them out!
What if we focused more on LOVING others into the Kingdom, rather than BROWBEATING them into the Kingdom? What if we were less concerned with passing laws, and more deliberate about being a loving example?
What if I tried to represent Jesus in everything I do?
- Rev. Bill