“If we Christians truly lived in Christ and actually did what we are told we can do, our lives would have such a strong effect on the world, that as we walked down the streets all the by-standers would point and say, wow; there goes a Christian.” – Gert Behanna
I’ve never met my friend Larry face to face, but he is a faithful brother in Christ who for the past six years or so has been regularly emailing me from Tennessee with encouraging notes and salient thoughts about this weekly newspaper column. Early on, somebody from here sent him the In Spirit column from Current in Carmel, Larry sent me a supportive email, I responded … and we’ve been electronic pen pals ever since.
So thanks to him for the above quote, which he sent last week responding to “Not That Many Atheists,” one of the “Classic” In Spirit columns republished each Friday at www.commonchristianity.blogspot.com.
Gert Behanna was a wealthy, wild-living, alcoholic American woman writer who found Christ and sobriety at age 53 in the mid-1950s. Before dying in 1969, Gert became something of a legend as a speaker for Alcoholics Anonymous. Her God Is Not Dead! (link to text here) speech is still available on audio CD at Amazon.
Behanna’s point testifies to the unimaginable light and attractiveness of faithful, loving Christian witness. One might note, however, that it also harkens a less-flattering flip-side truth: it’s not that Christians should walk down the street wanting to be noticed. The sad fact is too many Christians do walk down the street wanting to be noticed. And that’s why, too often, Christians are noticed for all the wrong reasons. Pride, judgment, and arrogance do not Godly witness make.
A faithful life in Christ is humble in self but confident in God. The Gospels teach us to be wary of the hypocrites praying pridefully on the street corners (Matthew 6:5), and that all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted (Luke 18:9-14, parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector).
This, of course, seems completely backward in our “Me, me, always me!” culture. But Christ’s divine servant humility was also completely backward not only in biblical culture but also in virtually every other culture in history. Sinful mankind has always tried to ride pride, power and wealth to false, worldly salvation.
Christians playing to the worldly standards of the by-standers will plow fallow fields. Christians focused on loving others bring light to the world and glory to God.
We mustn’t ask if the world notices us; we must ask if the world notices God.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) emails the Friday Classic posts upon request. No charge.