This past holiday season television shows and commercials, once again, brought to my mind human action and Christian inaction. This particular issue glares brighter under the lights of the holiday season likely because goodwill is brokered so openly.
I watched two television series do their Christmas shows, a situation comedy and FBI/pathologist series. Both had many individuals with varied religious/non-religious beliefs. Each person showcased their opinion about the holiday and how they would, or would not, be celebrating. Although the overarching theme was traditional Christmas pageantry the story lines and dialogue were almost the opposite.
When it comes to the selling of ‘gift giving’ and goodwill holiday commercials can be the most disturbing. In particular, there was a gift card advertisement that leads toward an selfless, philanthropic outcome. Flashes of people exhorting us to “give”, give without boundaries, give unselfishly and the last “give style” with the plug to purchase gift cards that can be spent anywhere in the mall. Jewelry commercials tend to paint females as mercenary, diamond mongers who will not be satisfied if her gift does not come from a renowned jeweler.
It would be easy to sit in disgust of the worldly ways of the media and shake our heads in shame at what evil is being fed to us and our children through the television. Instead, I have to wonder why the Christian community has lost so much. The easy answer is to blame “them” . . . who is anyone but “us”.
Western Europe, once a cornerstone of Christianity, has been closing churches and declining in membership.
The United States appears to be following hard on their heels, but why? What are we doing, or not doing, that diminishs the kingdom?
In Rome during the persecution Aristides, an official, wrote to explain how difficult it was to punish people who acted in the way of the Christians. These Christians were known by their actions. They were easily identified because they “acted” so completely different than the surrounding culture and community. They were known because they showed love, kindness, patience, the fruits of the spirit, when all others were not. They were acting in a way that brought people to them. People who wanted to know what they had and how they, too, could participate.
Can you identify a fellow Christian by their actions? Do Christians act any differently than the surrounding crowd? Is there such a display of the fruits of the spirit that you can be identified as a follower of Christ? What difference does it make what the media displays if we do not act differently?
From the hymn “They’ll Know We are Christians” the verse says "they’ll know we are Christians by our. . .” what? How do they know you are a Christian? Is it our fault that Christianity is diminishing? Is it due to our own apathy and lack of commitment to the kingdom? Do we provide examples that draw others to Christ; live in such joy that people want to know what we know? What are you known for?
The blame cannot be placed on media or other religious/non-religious groups alone. Be angry at our tepid community of faith. Do your part. Display the fruits of the spirit, live a life of joy in Christ, act like the child of God you are called to be and the rest of world will want to follow.
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.