Sometimes while distancing myself from religious wing nuts, I don’t represent the true Jesus. Truth is, in every situation I can represent the love and grace and identity of Jesus (which is never hateful). The Spirit will help me find the words and motivate my action…
8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Luke 12:8-9, 11-12
Even Peter, when the pressure was on and he wasn’t sure what to say, crumbled and denied knowing and following Jesus. Jesus knew he would, he predicted it, and he restored Peter afterward. It was a big lesson for Peter, who became one of the most out-spoken leaders of the early church, clearly relying upon the Spirit for his words from then on.
How about you? Do you publicly acknowledge Jesus before others? Or do you disown him at times? Peer pressure in school. Rough and tough work environments. Persecution of those Christians… There are plenty of reasons and scenarios in which we pull back.
I tend to pull back on social media – notice I’ve softened the language to not say I tend to disown Jesus on social media? We want to be easy on ourselves even when being convicted by the Holy Spirit, don’t we?
I am more likely to disown Jesus on social media because I see my online friends attack Christianity for things which I don’t do, wouldn’t support, and don’t even believe. I would never picket a person’s funeral, whether I agreed with their life choices or not. Some Christians (maybe ‘so called’ because they do things I think would anger Jesus himself) practice a hatred for others that is not in keeping with the true gospel message of Jesus. And so when that comes up on social media, I go radio-silent most times.
I intend to distance myself from these religious wing nuts, and in the process, I don’t represent the true Jesus. He is left to represent himself. I don’t ask the Holy Spirit what to say, because I don’t want to get into the middle of the mud-slinging. Am I different from Peter the night Jesus was arrested?
We can represent the love and grace and identity of Jesus in every situation. We ought to ask the Holy Spirit for help and step forward for Christ, rather than back into the Christian shadows. Where can you acknowledge and represent the Lord today?