We say it because we sure do want to be loving and kind and compassionate, but we don't often think about the situations we will be in where these characteristics would be needed.
We might need to show grace to the person who cut us off heading into Target because maybe they were having a bad day and Lord, Bless them.
But grace for the twice pregnant teen mom who should know now "how these things happen"...nah, how about some "truth in love"? It's our duty, I'm sure to point out how wrong this is, and how they have messed up again.
Compassion for the widowed Dad of three who works 50 hours a week between three jobs to make ends meet and needs food stamps to cover the rest, yes...he just needs a little help.
But compassion for the lady with tattoos in line holding her iphone buying chips and soda with her food stamps? Nope, she must be a drug addict abusing the system. There is no way she's also a hard working widowed Mom of three buying all she can afford for her littlest one's birthday whose phone was given to her by a friend. Instead of compassion let's blast on social media how messed up our system is and maybe even take a picture of her in line to go along with our "soapbox".
We say pro-life but we offer nothing to the Mom's who are looking to abort.
We say sanctity of marriage but our pews are filled with adulterers and porn addicts.
We call for reformation and change within our country but we don't look inside our own hearts.
We feel compelled to call others out and rate our sins on a scale when it's found nowhere in the Bible.
We use our social media platforms to "make others aware" and in reality we continue to ostracize, make others feel alone and perpetuate the belief that Christian's hate anyone different from themselves.
This isn't like Jesus.
This isn't like Jesus.
I wonder, when one gets on a soapbox about a polarizing issue, if they are only friends with those who believe the same as them? If they are, then why are they posting it?
If they do have friends who believe differently, what are they hoping to accomplish with a social media post? Do they consider their friends point of view and hope this wins them over? If they are sincere, then why aren't they conversing in person about this issue?
Is it because we are afraid to talk about this, for fear we may change our beliefs? For fear of being challenged because we don't really know why we believe it? Or is it a fear of being wrong?
When we say we want to be like Jesus we must know that Jesus got his hands dirty, literally.
He sat with the most hated people groups, he ate with them and talked with them. He went into places others wouldn't dare. He wept with the weight of what was on his shoulders, and that weight was people. Their sins, their burdens, he saw all of it. From the beginning to the end of time and it overcame Him. He took that to the cross with Him.
The physical manifestation of His love for people showed in the scars he carried on His body.
When we love deep, get our hands dirty, go to the unseen places and live and weep with the people who are hurting instead of sitting safely on the sidelines it will hurt. It will hurt so bad to love like that and often getting nothing in return. It will wound you and you will carry the scars of that love just as Jesus did.
That's what it means to live like Him. Living like Jesus doesn't mean safe or comfortable or tidy.
It's raw and painful and if we aren't willing to live that way, if we cannot comprehend a life of realness that wounds as much as it heals then we should not be asking to live like Christ did.
A few years back my husband and I began praying, "God we will do anything and go anywhere...just lead us" and we knew it could flip everything upside down.
It has. Maybe not in the drastic way of moving to Africa like I first thought...but it's been in little ways. How we spend our money, how we spend our time. It's looked like going all in with a few people who have needed to just be loved despite themselves and it's hurt like heck along the way.
Our friends asked the same thing and they are a few months into their adoption. It's been wonderful and extremely hard and painful all at the same time.
Living the reality of a true gospel life is pretty messy. Just because God calls you to it doesn't mean it will be wrapped up in a tidy bow.
Sometimes you will wonder why you ever prayed so boldly.
My hope is that we would be ever so bold as to say "this life I've been given is not for myself and my comforts, but to make Jesus known and to love others" That that one commandment would be our breath daily and what we use to filter our Facebook posts with, our conversations at Chipotle with and around the dinner table and with how we model our lives for our children and others.