Very recently I was discussing tattoos and body piercings with some young adults, who are very dear to me, but I will refrain from disclosing their identities on here. These young folk know that the mere mention of a new tattoo or additional body piercing has me, reacting with a face, like I’m “chewing wasps” or “sucking lemons”. In fact it has become such an affectionate type of banter between us, that if I was to stop now they wouldn’t get as much fun out of teasing me about my reaction. They don’t look to me for approval, because they don’t need it, they have my love.
To be honest, I don’t have a problem with tattoos or piercings per se, In fact on a special outing I do actually sometimes remember to wear a pair of ear-rings myself, so who am I to judge? But during the latest discussion, one youngster did say “it’s ok, God loves me just the way I am” to which my speedy reply was “aye, but as you are and how He created you, not with all the additional bits”. However, what came next was the comeback of all comebacks;
“God is forgiving, it’s the Christians who aren’t” – BAM!
So there I was folk, the truth laid right out in front of me of how some (perhaps many) perceive Christians. How was I going to reply to that? The simple answer is I couldn’t. I found myself laughing at the stark reality of it all and agreeing that this was often my experience too and I too, was guilty as charged! It reminded me of a time when I was asked in an interview whether I was a Christian, my reply being
“I am because of what I believe, but I fail every day at being one”
Must’ve been the right answer, because I got the job.
So why do we fail every day, and why as Christians do we find it so hard to be loving as we are instructed to be? You know, the type of love, the type that is all forgiving, never judging, unconditional.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Matthew also makes it very clear that we must forgive to be forgiven as mentioned in the Lord’s prayer and Paul explains in his letter to the Corinthians that:
“Love is patient, love is Kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”
So if we are to be Christians every day we must be truly loving every day, and if love is to be forgiving then we must forgive – not any easy challenge, but life isn’t meant to be easy, but the reward of experiencing true loving comfort is within our control. We just simply need to find a way to give so we are able to receive.
Illustrations of this are to be found in ……………………………….