Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
I have often told my husband that I understand why people go crazy. What I don't understand is why it's not an epidemic. Think about it. You can get away from everyone else when you need a break, but where do you go to get away from yourself? The best of us are hard to live with because of our self-centered, self-protective pride. Most days, I can't even get along with myself.
I recently read a quote by Mahatma Gandhi in regard to his views on Christians that made me sad—I knew it was about people like me. "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
I know from my experience of living with myself that Gandhi is absolutely correct. I fall so short of my Christ. Why is that? What is my problem?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I'm pretty sure I know the answer as to how I'm not like my Christ. Simply put, I do not love like Jesus. I do not put the needs and desires of others above my own in order to serve them and show them God's love. This is not the same as putting the needs and desires of others ahead of my own out of the need for approval or out of fearful or debasing dysfunction. This is an attitude of empowered servanthood, as demonstrated by Christ during His public ministry, and spelled out in many passages like 1 Corinthians 13.
The harder question to answer for me is this. Why? Why do I not love like Jesus? I have the Holy Spirit living inside me. I read and study my Bible often. I pray. I fellowship with other believers. Deep down, I desire to love others more than I love myself. But sadly, so many days, I fall short of loving like Jesus or being anything remotely like Him.
The real problem. At the most basic place, I really, really want to be like Jesus—until it costs me something. I'll think about others as soon as I take care of "number one" first.
The real solution. It sounds easy enough, but in truth it's the hardest thing ever for me to do. It's the decision in each and every moment of each and every day to put myself aside, take up my cross, and let my Christ love and serve others through me.
If Gandhi were to meet you, what would he say? Would he change his mind about one Christian? Or would he walk away untouched, not seeing your Christ? Every day, you and I are meeting the Gandhi's of this world. Will we help them see our Christ?