Updated: Mar 10, 2022
By Rev. René François
Being an authentic Christian means living a life that exemplifies loving God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind and strength, and demonstrating love for one’s neighbor as oneself regardless of religious beliefs, political persuasion, gender, ethnicity, race or anything else. Let us remember the example that Jesus modeled for us to follow through his interactions with others, which included some of society’s most undesirable people of his time, such as tax collectors and prostitutes. It is that we should never allow self-righteousness, religious dogma or prejudice to blind us to the humanity of others. As flawed human beings, we must be careful to not succumb to the sin of judging and quietly condemning (and sometimes not so quietly condemning) those whose values or religious beliefs do not align with ours.
Loving and accepting those whose beliefs, values and overall way of life do not resemble ours doesn’t mean taking on their values as our own in order to prove that we are loving Christians. It simply means seeing past our differences to their humanity, as Jesus did in his time, and loving them without judgment or condemnation. Doing anything short of that diminishes us (the family of God) to being gatekeepers of an exclusive club and tells others that they are unworthy and unwelcome. Nothing could be more un-Christlike. God’s purpose in Christ was not to form an exclusive club that is open to some and closed to others, but, rather, to bring salvation to anyone open to accepting the Good News.
The most effective way for us to have a positive influence in this world for the kingdom of God is to strive to be Christlike to the best of our ability so that we can be shining examples of God’s love to the world. Therefore, let us reject the ungodly activity of functioning as gate keepers of an exclusive club. Let us look past our differences with others to see their humanity. For in doing so, our hearts will be free to love as Jesus loved. Above all, let us exemplify the Gospel by living out the Great Commandments given by Jesus in the new testament gospels, which are as follows:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these”
(Matthew 22:35–40; Mark 12:28–31Luke, 10:25–28).🕊
—𝓡𝓮𝓿. 𝓡𝓮𝓷𝓮́ 𝓕𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓬̧𝓸𝓲𝓼