24 December 2009

Reposted emails: The Mark of a Christian?

Okay, I admit it. I sometimes get annoyed by the dozens of emails I receive telling me that I have to forward a post to at least 12 people or I am not a real Christian or that I am ashamed of Jesus. Today, someone's facebook status read:

"They may want to take Christ out of Christmas, but they can never take Christ out of me. If you are proud to be a Christian and are not ashamed of Christ then post this as your status for 1 day as a light to the world. Most people will be to (sic) ashamed or scared to do this. This was posted by a friend. If you agree, copy and paste to your wall."

Before I go on, let me state a few things clearly. I am exceedingly grateful for the gift God offered me that first Christmas. I know that I am nothing apart from Christ. However, on principle, I never forward these types of posts. Here is the reason; forwarding an email or reposting a facebook status is not the mark of a Christian; rather, it is love for others (John 13:34-35).

Francis Schaeffer, who wrote the brief, but influential, "The Mark of the Christian" stated it this way, "What then shall we conclude but that as the Samaritan loved the wounded man, we as Christians are called upon to love all men as neighbors, loving them as ourselves. Second, that we are to love all true Christian brothers in a way that the world may observe. This means showing love to our brother in the midst of our differences
great or small loving our brothers when it costs us something, loving them even under times of tremendous emotional tension, loving them in a way the world can see. In short, we are to practice and exhibit the holiness of God and the love of God, for without this we grieve the Holy Spirit.

and the unity it attests to is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father."

So, rather than forwarding that email, bring a meal for a co-worker you really don't like, go shovel your neighbor's walk, or spend some time at a youth center. I promise these activities will be more luminous to the world than a mass email.

You can read The Mark of the Christian here.


Kellie Hogg said...

Thanks for the insights.

JasonSix said...

THe way I see it, telling people they have to do something not commanded in scripture to prove their faith is a form of legalism. These brothers in Christ need to know that grace saved them from the bondage of all these silly rules and they no longer need to act like the Pharisees that Christ reserved his strongest rebukes for.