Ever have a time when the same topic keeps popping up again and again in your life? That was basically the past five days. I have heard the same message quite a few times. I’m taking it as a sign that I’m supposed to do something with it. My first thought was to take to network TV or climb to the tallest building and shout it from the roof, but since both of those options would involve me trespassing and potentially ending up with some personal time with the wonderful police officers who have better things to do with their night, I figured this would be the best format.
I recently read this awesome blog post about how a simple trip to a McDonald’s drive through changed this guy’s perspective. (Seriously, click the link and read it). I shared it on my Facebook Page (which you totally should follow, cause I share the occasional non-me tidbit). My most forth coming follower, A.K.A. Mom told me that she really liked it. Strangely today, my Wednesday institute class had a similar message. But the true catalyst was Saturday night.
For those unfamiliar with my Faith: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also called Mormons) has this thing that happens twice a year in April and October called General Conference. If you ask one of my people, they will tell you calm polite things about how wonderful General Conference is. If you hear a conversation about General Conference between two of my people you’d think they were talking about Comic Con or the Super Bowl. We get really excited about this. General Conference is like our Holy Weekend. The first weekend in April and October the prophet, twelve apostles, and other members of church leadership share uplifting and positive messages via BYUTV, the internet (lds.org or Mormon.org) and some radio stations (if you’re in Utah).
The Saturday before this epic weekend is a special broadcast just for the women of the church (or not if you want to watch it, you don’t have to be Mormon or a woman). The talks focus on messages for women ages 8 years old and up. This past Saturday was the Woman’s Broadcast. I loved the talks. The overall message was about service and helping others. It got my all fired up to bake casseroles and sew quilts (neither of which I do very well).
Anyway, I’ve been studying the life of Christ much more in depth lately. This (along with all the other signs from the universe) made me ponder what makes me a Christian? Or better yet, as Christ himself asked “What think ye of Christ?” Yes, I have a strong and firm testimony of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all of Heavenly Father’s children. Yes, I am grateful for His sacrifice and Atonement that makes it so I can repent and be clean. But how does this change things? How am I showing others that I am a Christian?
During the last week of Christ’s life, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and Elders of the church sought to find ways to make Christ fail, to trick him. Their futile attempts gave us some awesome answers from Christ. I love that He countered their questions by asking them a question. I have experienced many, many people seeking to tear me away from my faith and beliefs. Using Christ’s example to question their questions, I can weed out those who really want to know from the others who only seek to tear down my testimony.
The other thing from these verbal attacks we learn are some really great parables. One that I have thought a lot about is the parable of the two sons. I’ll paraphrase (but you can click the link to read the actual reference). The lord of the vineyard went to his first son and asked him to go and work in the vineyard. The son said no, but later repented and went and worked. The lord went to the second son and asked him to work in the vineyard. The son said yes, but did not go. Christ asks who was right: the first son.
The first son may have said no, but his actions reflected his father’s will. The second son may have said yes, but his actions had no hint of the father. Sometimes we as Christians are like this. We say we are Christian, we sing it loud and proud. We show it in our profile pictures, our bumper stickers, our jewelry, our tattoos, our whatevers. But how do we speak it in our actions?
I recently read this humorous story of a hard core follower of a certain politician. She took to twitter to show her dedication to this politician. She tweeted attacks at any person who spoke ill of her political hero. She even began to attack this twitter account because the name reflected something her politician was against. After a week of assaults, the account owners told her that they were actually the account belonging to a magazine and not who she was intending to attack. After I had my chuckle at the silliness of it all, I realized that the woman’s profile picture was the cross. She was in one instance proclaiming herself as a Christian and in the other attacking others with profanity and vulgarity.
I had my Judgey McJudgerson moment and then realized, don’t I do this? How often do I try to share my love of my Faith then a second later turn from it? Haven’t I tried to read the scriptures, and then when interrupted by my family yell that I am trying to study the scriptures? Yeah, I am being the second son.
It’s easy to be the second son. It’s easy to verbally say “I’m a disciple of Christ” then go and dance with the devil. I don’t want to create a shopping list of what a disciple does and doesn’t do, that isn’t the point. The point is we need to act as disciples more than say we are disciples.
During this time, We’re seeing it harder and harder to be Christian. All over the news and college campuses, people attack Christians for their beliefs. It’s hard not to shut them down. It’s hard not to rally the troops and destroy them, but that’s not what Christ would do. Those actions only fuel their fire. How much harder would it be for them to find fault with us if we serve them? What wrong could they proclaim if we treated them with love and kindness? What hatred could they confess if we showed them the true love of Christ, charity? Sure, they can continue to hate us and speak against us. That is their choice, but at least we’re not giving them reason to.
In this same section of the scriptures, Jesus does the only destructive act (that I saw) of his ministry: He destroyed the fig tree. The fig tree had all the signs of fruit, but yet there were none. The tree was a symbol of hypocrisy, and Christ destroyed it. We need to be true Christians, in not just word, but in deed. We must not be the fig tree.
I am a Christian. I am imperfect, but I strive to reflect the Savior more and more every day.
How do you show your Faith?