INow by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked. 1 John 2:3-6
A group of high school sophomores sit in chemistry class taking a difficult test. The teacher walks out of the classroom, leaving the answers to the test sitting on her desk. Several students look back at the door to make sure the teacher is actually gone and then proceed to her desk to look at the answers so that they can score higher on the test than they would on their own. One student stays in her desk watching as friends from her church youth group cheat when given the opportunity.
A man driving a car with a Christian fish on the rear bumper, is running late for a party. He needs to stop at the store to pick up some sodas so he whips around some people walking through the parking lot and then parks in a handicapped spot because he doesn’t have time to look for another one.
A man returns home after worshipping at his neighborhood church to find his neighbor’s dog wandering through is flower garden. He then rushes across the street, pounds on the door and begins to yell and curse at his neighbor for not keeping his dog under control.
Showing love for our neighbor matters!
A well-known Sunday School teacher is driving her children to soccer practice in her new car when another car pulls in front of her to turn into a store parking lot. She rolls down her window, makes an unfriendly gesture with her hand, and yells ugly names at the driver of the other vehicle.
A girl and her parents move to a new town because her father finally found a job after being out of work for several months. She visits a popular church youth group and meets some kids from her new school. Because she doesn’t have the “right” clothes, shoes, and hairstyle, the kids she met at church don’t want to hang out with her at school. In fact, she heard a group of them giggling and making fun of the way she looked.
Did you know that when we attend church or openly profess to being a Christian, we are representing Christ to the people we encounter every day. We have the opportunity to influence people for or against Christ on a daily basis. When we walk in the light of Christ, following the path God has for us, others may want to walk in his light also to find the path God has for them. When we don’t, we can give others the wrong idea about people of faith. We don’t demonstrate the great love that God has for us all. We might even be labeled as “hypocrites”. This is why it so important for us to live our lives with integrity, and kindness, and love for our neighbors.
We live in a world of declining values because we, as Christians, have slowly allowed the bar to be lowered on what we expect of others and ourselves. If we are willing to walk as Jesus walked, and if we are ready to reflect the light of Christ onto others, maybe we will begin to see some changes in the world around us. Maybe we can show the people we encounter everyday, that integrity, kindness, and love for our neighbors really does matter.