“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love on another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In my last post, Do Christians Have Best Practices, I introduced the five best practices of leadership based on research by renowned leadership experts Kouzes and Posner. Today, let’s dig into the first best practice, Model the Way.
How does your life represent your faith in Christ? Maybe a better question might be: Does your life represent your faith in Christ?
We are commanded to love each other, and according to Christ, this will show others that we are his disciples. I fear that in today’s world many of the standards we hold true are being twisted by non-believers to disgrace Christians and Christianity. If we take a stand for what we believe in we are called haters. We don’t hate, but those who want to discredit us twist it to their own purposes.
With such a battle, what can we do? Ephesians 6: 10-12 tells us:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Did you catch that? Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. We fight the dark forces of evil.
I’ve seen many Christians stand shouting hell and damnation to the people around them. Just a few weeks ago, during Fall for Greenville, evangelists lined sections of the road shouting at the crowds. While my husband and I found a perch to sit on and nibble on one of the goodies we bought that night, I listened to the man shouting at the crowd nearby. Not a word of love. Not a word of compassion. Nothing of the beauty and joy of our faith passed through his lips. Instead, he preached damnation, often mixing scriptures up that didn’t even go together.
We see this on the news, too. The media loves to display Christians at their worst. The most common scenarios involve gay rights events with Christians on the sidelines, their faces screwed up in rage, shouting condemnation at the very people we should shower in God’s love.
Christ knew that the way to people wasn’t in anger. It was to reach out to them in compassion and love. We still employ the armor of God. We use the belt of truth in love. Wear the breastplate of righteousness in love. And stand in feet fitted in readiness for the gospel of peace. Yes, peace. We stand in peace, not anger.
Peace, love, joy, these are what we should display as we model the way for others. The forces of evil will still attack, but it’s much harder to discredit us when we display love and truth instead of anger and rage.
What will you do to help erase these negative images from the public’s mind?