It’s All About People

If you ask Christians what the Christian life is all about, you’ll probably get many answers.
Some will say it is about a life of discipline, study and righteousness.
Others will say it is about a relationship with God.
Still others will say it is about witnessing the gospel to the unsaved.
The Christian life is about all these things and our first call is to love and worship the Lord our God. But there is an aspect of our Christian walk that is crucial to our spirituality but so hard to accomplish:

Loving God’s people.

God not only created us, but He created us as a people, a community…
a BODY. And this body is very precious and holy to God.
So when we fight or hate or discriminate or separate, we are in sin.
God hates this.

As we look throughout the Bible, God continuously reinforces His people as an interacting body, not just as solitary individuals. Reflection and introspection is important for our spiritual growth and there are some who are called to a life of prayerful solitude.
However being a hermit is not God’s plan for most of us.

How do I know? Well let’s look at the Bible.
Take the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20: 1-17
All the commandments are about our relationship with God and our relationships with other people…the brotherhood of man. The first few commandments tell us to love and honor God who gave us life and spirit. We have no problem with this. However, the remaining commandments are there to teach us how we are to relate to each other. The commandments are about honoring our parents and not hurting our neighbors whether by false witness, stealing, or coveting, etc.
The commandments are NOT about keeping oneself pure or sinless for its own sake, but about caring for each other with honor and respect. The commandments are there because we naturally choose not to love each other. Our natural state is to love only ourselves.

He could have given us any number of commandments to observe…but these were about Him and about dealing with people in His holy love. Most Christians can effortlessly follow the Ten Commandments…but we still have a serious problem really loving other people. Why? Because people are messy. They’re hungry, needy, indecisive, unappreciative, contradictory, to name a few. Humans are a difficult bunch to love. And loving anyone involves taking their problems and pain onto ourselves.
Though if you recall…this is what Jesus did for us.

He could have asked those seeking Him to go off into the desert and stay there and abstain from fleshly human contact and interaction in order to obtain purity, but He does not. Though Jesus does ask us to seek righteousness and avoid sin, (again a reminder: “sin” is when we commit a violation against God, another person or our self), the real focus of Jesus’ ministry was love for mankind, of which He gave His own life. Jesus never says for us to avoid people whom we think are “sinners”. Clearly, He has shown us that we are all sinners in the same boat, none better than the other.

Jesus’ ministry was about loving and healing. It was about bringing together, not separating. He healed, loved and forgave all those people…who everyone else despised and avoided.
He was against the religious people who performed EVERYTHING correctly, but were cold to their brothers and neighbors. His life is a testament to how we should live. His parables of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the feeding of the five thousand, the healing of the sick, the forgiving of the adulteress, His death on the cross…Jesus’ life was all about healing, sacrificing, caring, forgiving and loving…people.

Jesus’ ministry was not about hours spent meditating or studying
until we knew the Bible backwards and forwards. It wasn’t about keeping your body free from animal meats or avoiding sinful people.
His ministry was NOT EVEN about being a good person for the sake of being good. But Jesus’ ministry was about loving people, all people.
His ministry was about selfless love for humanity.

Jesus tells of the story of the separation of the goats and sheep at the end of the age. Matthew 25:31-46
In this story, He reveals how important the act of loving people is.
It seems our very salvation hangs on it.
And how were the goats and sheep separated?
He didn’t separate the sheep from the goats because they were good church going Christians, or the best at avoiding sin and sinful thoughts, or because they believed sound Christian theology.
All of these are fine. But the sheep were separated from the goats because they DID THINGS that helped people.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The sheep had done real acts of love for real people.
It is all about showing real selfless love to people, not just loving people in our idealistic minds. Anyone can say, “I’m a Christian, I love everyone”. It’s something else to get your hands dirty by meeting, befriending, and helping REAL people, people with all manner of problems, illnesses, and faults. Some of us can’t even greet our next-door neighbor. How can we help a stranger in need?

Jesus’ new commandments are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:40
He could have made the commandment about “being the best you can be”, or He could have told us to “separate ourselves from others to be stainless holy hermits”. Rather He commanded us to become a part of each other's lives and love and care for each other and in that way, the Gospel is spread. Jesus wants Christians to be catalysts for the healing of God’s people…ALL of His people. By showing love, Christians are fulfilling the ultimate will of God:

The Great Commission.

The true ministry of Christ is about meeting, ministering to, helping, visiting, healing, feeding, sharing, accepting, welcoming, respecting, honoring, befriending, defending, forgiving, caring for and loving…people.
Hello, are you with me? Wake up and smell the coffee.
It’s all about People.

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:19-21

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” 1 Peter 4:8

 

© 2004 Edrick


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