Monday, May 28, 2012

What are You Known For?: Character vs. Conviction

John 13:35
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
This weekend at church our pastor discussed a really important issue concerning the church's response to homosexuality and the homosexual community at large.  He challenged us as believers to check our hearts and our attitudes when it comes to this very important issue, but in regards to this idea he made one statement that really resonated with me:

Do people know you more by your character, or by your convictions?

This thought has had me reflecting on my life over the past couple of days.  It is so easy to be known by our convictions isn't it?  It seems natural to define ourselves by our belief system, by what we believe, by the things we are against and disagree with.

"They don't really go partying"
"He's against drinking alcohol"
"Don't tell her your living together because she doesn't believe in that"
"He's really conservative"  
"They are anti-abortion and anti-gay"

I don't believe that we should ever water down our beliefs, be ashamed of our values, or be inconsistent with that which is important to us...but what I am saying is, doesn't Jesus ask for so much more from us than a list of simple convictions?

More than a generation that is set apart by what we believe, Jesus calls us to be set apart in how we love. 

Imagine the impact that we could be having on the people in our lives if they recognized something supernatural about the way we loved them?

It's so easy to get caught up in stretching out our hands to the world, with the ten commandments written on our palms, rather than stretching out our hearts to them in loving reflection of the nail scarred hands of Jesus. 

We have truly lost something when the world around us knows us more by what we are against rather than what we are for.   

We are for people.
We are for mercy.
We are for kindness.
We are for peace.
We are for service.  
We are for generosity.
We are for gentleness.
We are for hospitality.  
And absolutely most of all....we are for love. 

May you be challenged to take inventory of your life this week as you seek to show the world the mark of a true disciple.  Love.  Love.  Love.