Anyone who knows me can state that I am a bit naïve, my wife being number one on the list. I didn’t even know we were dating for months. You can imagine the dumbfounded look on her face when someone commented and I turned to her and asked “Oh, are we dating?”
It’s kind of amazing that we are now such a happy family.
Over the years, I still have my moments where it is obvious that I have been flying under the radar and not clearly grasping reality around me. It’s part of the magic of being me.
At least, that is what I tell Ann.
But I feel like I am going through a bit of a learning curve lately.
I watched a presentation by a man with a PhD on “what Mormons believe.” I listened carefully and, even though it was pretty obvious he thought the beliefs were outrageous, he had probably more than 90% of it right.
In my naiveté I found myself asking the screen, “Why doesn’t that make sense to you? It makes perfect sense to me.”
Then I did some reading on what others feel that it means to worship the Savior Jesus Christ, to take His name upon us, and to be a Christian.
I will admit my jaw kept hitting the desktop.
I guess the situation had now completely reversed and I was like the man with the PhD. Even with an understanding of the technical aspects of his beliefs, it felt so foreign to me.
We should have been the same; yet we really couldn’t have been more different.
Here’s another thought.
While talking about this same thing Sunday morning, our daughter made an incredibly insightful comment. She said that there are many people of the Muslim faith who are good, kind people who are simply trying to help their fellow neighbor. There are people of the Jewish faith who are filled with love and make the world a better place each day. We can go around the world and find people everywhere who live lives worthy of emulation.
They exhibit behavior that is very, well, Christ-like. Very Christian.
Kind of a topsy-turvy world.
Christians telling other Christians that they aren’t in fact Christian. Non-Christians behaving Christian.
My little naïve mind could probably burst at the confusion of it all.
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Obviously there is not just one perception out there; there are many.
It made me wonder, what is my perception? What is my understanding of what it means to be a Christian?
Am I offended or angry when someone who doesn’t know me, has never met me, tells me that I am not a Christian?
I took the time to let this go through my head and bounce around a while.
All I could come up with is, no, I’m really not offended at all.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about it.
But maybe I’m not asking the right question.
Am I offended or angry when someone who knows me, has worked with me, has watched me through the years, tells me that I am not a Christian?
This is a harder question.
No. I am not offended or angry.
I am ashamed.
And I think I have a little better understanding of what it may actually mean to be a Christian.
The Savior Jesus Christ is real. He lived. He lives.
To behave, as closely as we can, as he behaved, as he behaves, takes a lifetime.
There will be days that you watch me and witness things that I am not very proud of. On those days, I wouldn’t deserve to be counted among those who profess to follow His example.
We all have those days.
Perhaps part of being a Christian is not focusing on each other when we stumble, but rather holding out a hand and helping each other to stand back up.
To all the Christian-behaving Muslims, and Christian-behaving Jews, and Christian-behaving Buddhists, thank you for the example you show in helping us to be better Christian-behaving Christians.
There is a lot of good out there. Maybe through looking at each other with compassion and gratitude, it will help us to see ourselves as we hope to be.
And people won’t be so worried about what each other is or isn’t, but will just want to be more like Him.
That’s a win for everyone.