Many times we confuse ourselves about people. We categorize them in an incorrect way. Sometimes this can be a misunderstanding. In more extreme forms it appears as racism. The problem is with identification. We just don’t know them. Or we don’t want to know them. We fear them so we hate them. This can even happen when we don’t know ourselves.
When I was younger I didn’t like being Korean. I was especially sensitive to racist remarks. I wanted to have blond hair and blue eyes. At one point I even began to loathe my heritage. I did not know who I was. The world has changed a lot since then, but there is still plenty of hate to go around.
This confusion extends to every sector of society, including Christians. Christians can be racist and hateful… and still believe in Jesus. But maybe it is because they don’t know him, or themselves, completely.
We often tend to place Christ in the role of a good example. He was a good man. He was a wise man. He stood up for people and healed them. He gave his life for them.
These things are all wonderful, but they miss the mark by a mile. I could say similar things about Gandhi. Gandhi liberated a nation without violence. Jesus never did that.
I can read the teachings and study the life of Gandhi and learn a lot. It could make me behave better and treat others in a better way. I might even be able to free a nation if I were to adhere to his teachings without compromise.
But even for all his great earthly deeds, Gandhi could never speak to me the way Jesus speaks to me.
Do what you want, when you want. This freedom is yours. I will never take it from you. I love you, and I want you to be free. Don’t you know how much I love you? Don’t you know that I think and care about you all the time? It kills me to think of you lost and suffering alone. I would rather die than for you to be without joy. Nothing is more important to me than you, and nothing is more important to my Father in heaven. If you let me, I will help you and heal you. I will come into your heart. I know you are afraid. I know there are things that you would rather forget. In that secret place I will pour out my love upon you. Come, put all your worries, even your mistakes, upon me. Look deep into your heart. See who you are. I want you to realize your deepest desires. You can trust me. Take my hand. Do not be afraid.
Dignity and human rights are among the noblest causes one can fight or die for. But Christ goes where no other can go. I am not a Christian because of good, or even heroic, behavior.
I am a Christian because I need a Savior.
I can know about great examples and great teachers from history, but I can not love them. Nor can they love me.
When we identify Christ correctly, we begin to understand our own identity clearly. My core identity is as a child of God. From that point forward I can understand and accept everything else. Because it is based on love. And love has no compromise. Love fears nothing.