The recent diagnosis of President Trump and First Lady Melania with COVID-19 has continued to reveal that many people who claim to be “Christians” treat the faith as a club to join rather than a lifestyle to live.
Social media lit up with both prayers for the president and first lady, as well as a wave of hatred. It saddened me to see so many who proclaim to be Christian on their profiles or social media pages, yet they celebrate a person getting sick simply because they do not agree with them or like them.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
However, people who posted about Jesus a few days earlier were now posting “I have no compassion for him” or “he got what he deserved”. Those were the same accounts that even in their profile described themselves as Christian. Is this a Christian attitude? Is this what Jesus was talking about when he said love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you? (Matthew 5:44)
The cross we must carry in order to be Christian and devoted followers of Christ will be different for each of us. However, one of the crosses we must all carry is loving others we do not like, praying for others we do not want to pray for, and showing compassion for those who it may not be easy to be compassionate for. Jesus prayed for the very people who were murdering him on the cross when he said “Father forgive them” in Luke 23:34. Social media seems to have given people a right of entitlement to say or do whatever they choose to do. However, Christians are not only expected, but commanded, to act differently.
What if every Christian acted like Christ during these times?
Christ calls us to love others, pray for others (even our enemies and those we disagree with), and to be compassionate toward others. One of the major news sources posted the story on Facebook when the news broke that the president and first lady tested positive for COVID. The individual, so profoundly and powerfully, replied “and the world tested negative for compassion”. Perhaps, it should have said “and the majority of Christians tested negative for compassion”. After all, we should not expect the world to act like Christians just as we do not expect Christians to act like the world.
Jesus never tells us to like people we disagree with or those who are considered our enemies, but Christ DOES tell us to love them. Christian love is action. It is thinking before typing. It is the cross we carry because we do not, nor should we, act like the world and express demise for anyone.
“So, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
In my life I have belonged to countless organizations and groups. I still have all the pins that tell others I am a member. Christian is not a pin to wear but a cross to carry. It begins with not acting like the world. It begins with thinking before speaking (or typing). It begins with praying before hating.