Seeing Christ In The Lives of Others

Romans 12:16–21

As part of our college ministry many years ago, we asked our college students to come up with their mission statement. It was coached in a business/organization language; it should have been better phrased as a Rule of Life.

Mine was: Seeing Christ in the Lives of .

Yes, the title was my little slogan. As of late, it has come to mind regularly. Often it is part of my response to a myriad of things that I am seeing and hearing about all around, whether it be personal interactions or even Tweets (posts on the Twitter platform).

There seems to be a predilection to be wounded and hurt first (and responding that way).

Hurt people, hurt people

This saying from my time in Celebrate Recovery continues to resonate with me. God’s timing for teaching me this (right before being hugely wounded) is not lost on me.

As we watch the world around us, perhaps you need to this, too.

Hurt and see

You might be hurting now. I know I am. In fact, the reason I’m sharing these thoughts with you is that I, too, am hurting.

Reflecting on Paul’s words to the Romans should provide some wisdom to and a framework for us.

Too often, people take these verses and go right to Paul’s quotation of Proverbs 25:21–22. Heading there first is an indication that we are responding out of hurt and/or first.

Instead, perhaps we ought to focus on, “…show respect for what everyone else believes is good.” Many may with, “That excuses their behavior!” No, it doesn’t. It shows respect for God.

Another response I have witnessed and experienced is, “that’s not Scriptural.” Sometimes that is the choice of a style of music or a style of dress. Sometimes it truly is something called out by the as bad.

Grace Before

In the Wesleyan- , we have the theological construct of prevenient grace. This is the grace that goes before the people even . In particular, it is God’s grace that goes before we have a clue.

Perhaps the turmoil in the world, especially as the —just as the culture—adapts to massive changes in everything, ought to be perceived with grace, “…show[ing] respect for what everyone else believes is good.” For the record, this is hard.

Much of the language being used by the world is very judgemental, of course, the church has much the same problem. We are called to be present in the world, but not to be of it. As we hold onto the things of old or embrace the new, looking for Christ in the lives of others may well be an answer.

※Reflection※

  • How might Christ be present in the current social advocacy you oppose? How might God’s grace be going before in that situation?
  • Why might it be important to “see” in the lives of others, especially those that do not know Jesus?