Being Christian or Being More Appropriately Human?
One of the problems that I see with Christianity in America is that we work so hard at becoming better Christians, all the while we don’t really know Jesus as a Person. We understand the “rules of Christianity” and what a Christian is supposed to do and not do. We understand our particular belief system (be it Baptist, Methodist, Charismatic, etc.) and we work at defending our particular belief system. We introduce people to Jesus and unfortunately, to our belief system as well. When people raise objections about Jesus, we often times feel the need to defend Christianity and many times we end up defending our own belief system.
It’s true that Jesus came to redeem humanity. He came to save us from the debt of sin and to restore our relationship with God. With that said, we must understand that Jesus came to redeem humanity, not to establish Christianity. Christianity, in a large part in America, has become another religion with its rules of dos and don’ts. Don’t get me wrong. There are numerous Christians who love Jesus with all their heart and truly want to serve Him. However, even in our love for Jesus we can be religious. I know, because I loved Jesus with all my heart and yet, I found myself being religious to the point of always working on being a better Christian. I came to realize that even though I loved Jesus, and I knew that I was saved, I didn’t know Jesus as a Person. When I came to this realization God began to lead me on an incredible journey of studying the life of Jesus from a fresh new perspective.
One thing that I have come to realize is that Jesus didn’t come to make Christians, He came to save humanity. He came to restore us to what we created to be….human. God didn’t create us to be Christians; He created us to be humans. Humans that have a relationship with Him, act like Him and bear His image in the earth. Humans were created to display God through their own personalities and life. Unfortunately, sin has messed that up and by giving into sin we often act in inhuman (or inhumane) ways. Whenever we sin against someone we are acting inhuman. To act indecently against another human is to act inhuman. There are things like abuse to animals, genocide, abortion, etc. that we called inhuman. Even our animal shelters are called Humane Societies because its human to take care of animals.
When you read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), it is not a treatise on being a better Christian. It is a treatise on how to be a better human. Jesus was the ultimate human being. He was everything God wanted a human to be. Adam was too, until he sinned and allowed sin to transform him into a person capable of being inhumane. We see this with the story of Cain and Abel. Cain did what was inhuman when he killed Abel. We can see examples from history of inhumane acts done by humans to humans: the Holocaust, genocide, abortions, murders, rapes, etc. God is interested in how we treat others, how we love others. When we realize that we are all humans and that God loves us passionately, we can begin to treat each other with respect and dignity. Isn’t that what Jesus did?
When Jesus dealt with people He did it by giving each person His individual attention. Each person was an individual worthy of His attention. Each person mattered. Even when He was in the middle of something and someone interrupted Him, He gave them His attention and treated them with dignity and respect. He was being the type of human that Father God wants us to be. He came to leave us the example of what being human is really all about. We are truly the most human when we reflect our Father in Heaven because that is what we were created to do – bear His image, His image in human form.