Sunday, August 07, 2005

One Reason Christians Don't Have a Greater Positive Impact on the World

My colleague, Pastor Glen VanderKloot of Faith Lutheran Church in Springfield, Illinois, begins his sermon for today this way:
Archbishop George Appleton tells the following story which a Jewish rabbi friend told him. At a meeting of Christians in Jerusalem, the Professor of New Testament Studies in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem remarked that he prayed for Christians every day. When the time came for discussion the first question asked was…

"What do you pray for us Christians?"

His reply reduced his audience to silence. He said…

"I pray that you Christians may be more like your Jesus."
The world isn't looking for Christians who are perfect. But it is looking for Christians who, acknowledging their imperfections, seek God's help in being like Jesus.

Sadly, what the world often sees is Christians who act "holier-than-God." They see us being judgmental, legalistic, intolerant, and domineering. Read the Gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--and that isn't anything like Jesus.

Personally, I offer a prayer that virtually paraphrases that of the rabbi. "Lord," I say, "help me to be more like Jesus." And then I ask God to help me to get over myself long enough to get out of His way so He can answer that prayer.


Tamar said...

This is beautiful, Mark. I have been to every "site" where Jesus lived, walked and was crucified and buried and have read much about him. What comes across for me are the stories about compassion, kindness and activist passion.

Those are qualities and characteristics I would love to emulate, certainly!

Forgive me for using a lower case letter for "him." This is where you and I probably differ. At the idea of the divinity - not the history.

Mark Daniels said...

As always, Tamar, I thank you for visiting and commenting on my site. I appreciate your graciousness.

As to punctuation, many Christians who believe in Christ's divinity, including the authors of most Biblical translations, don't capitalize His Name. It's just something I feel that I want to do, although it doesn't matter a bit. But I do understand your position on Jesus and I respect it.

Tamar said...

Thank you.