This morning I was thinking about a specific person whose name shall be Ana. Ana has existed in my life for over a quarter of a century, but that is not her real name. She takes pride in being a Christian, but I see her spending a lot of time judging others. It’s not unusual to see that type of behavior, but most recently, I had an email exchange with her about some upcoming plans. The last thing I heard from her was her defending her behavior about a certain decision. To make things clear, I would love to disclose the details, but if I did, then that might also reveal her identity. So for the sake of keeping her anonymous, we will leave out the details and just put it this way – she took my inquiry as an accusation.
I explained to her via email, because that was how the whole exchange had been communicated, my side of things, and I told her that I hoped she was not upset, because I was fine with her decision. I didn’t hear back from her, so am left to assume that she is indeed upset.
This situation had me pondering relationships, love and religion. I wondered how she could not just give me the benefit of the doubt. After all, we have been close for years. We are always glad to see each other, talk for hours, etc. Yet I felt like she was taking this one misunderstanding and letting it define our relationship.
From there, I went to her professed Christianity, and I have noticed in the past, in other situations, that she easily writes people off. To me, that is not Christianity. Would Jesus write anyone off? I don’t think He ever did.
Ana is also a person that always thinks the worst of people. She sees everyone’s motivations as selfish and stupid. Not really a Christian attitude, either.
That brings me to “love.” I think the basis of any religion is or should be love. That’s the lesson that Jesus, in his time on this earth, taught. He did everything through love. And that is what Christian religions teach– God so loved the world that He gave us his Son, right? And his Son, willingly, gave His life for us to show us that love in the most profound way.
So how can someone who claims to be a Christian – has the Christian fish symbol on her vehicle, wears pins that say, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and attends church every Sunday, so easily take love from me?
And that got me thinking about how long we have been there for each other. She knows me. She knows my heart. Why couldn’t she just give me the benefit of the doubt – that I would not intentionally try to upset her or make her feel bad and that the means of communication (written words, instead of spoken) might be the culprit here? Why didn’t she take her religion and refer to it in her measuring her reaction? Or has she missed the message of Christianity – Love!
So what is “love”?
We have all heard the bible verse:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
In a perfect world, we would practice this constantly and continually. I know we are all human, and therefore imperfect with issues that need healing, but I guess what I wish is that when people represent their Christianity, maybe they should use this as the base. When a person stands on a pedestal of Christianity and looks down at the rest of the world, that pedestal so easily crumbles without Love!
I am not a religious person. I have my spiritual beliefs, but I don’t put a label on them. Love and compassion are the two words that would sum up my beliefs. As you can see, I believe that any religion that holds these two words as the foundation should work well for the human race and get us to the ultimate end we are all aspiring toward., whether you call that heaven on earth – or just Heaven.
I hope that Ana heals the part of her that keeps her holding the world at arm’s distance. I hope that she finds the true meaning of being a Christian. In the mean time, I will extend that love to myself. After all, that’s where it all starts, right?