1 Peter 1:3-4a – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable. (NASB)
As long as I can remember, Christianity has been part of my life. I was raised in a Christian home and attended Christian schools. During the past three years, however, I have come to truly understand and appreciate just what being a Christian is all about.
Recently at work, I was resolving a dispute between two co-workers, when one of them commented, "I'm so glad you're helping out; he's so difficult to deal with. What's wrong with him? Is he a born-again Christian or something?"
I responded with a hearty laugh, and my co-worker looked confused. I responded, "I don't know if he is, but I am!" What a shock — this person considered me "normal", and was completely taken aback! I suppose I just don't fit the stereotype which defines "born-again Christian" in her mind.
When we are asked, "Are you a Christian?", how do we respond? What does it mean to us? Does our answer depend on the person asking or on circumstances? Many of us read the Bible, and even have some scripture memorized. We go to church on Sundays, play active roles in our community, help others; does that make us Christians?
I attended a Good Friday service here in Toronto at which a local preacher, who has a regular Sunday television broadcast, was speaking. My mother-in-law asked that I attend, as she was in the hospital and couldn't. I thought, "Okay, here comes Mr. Bigshot Preacher from TV — dazzle me!! Why, I don't even have to listen, I'll just purchase his tapes and that will be that." Well, I found out tapes were not available, and his sermon was on forgiveness. Forgiveness? How boring. I had no major issues with anyone; I tried my best to forgive and hoped that I would receive the same.
I left that service without my pride and attitude, and holding on to lots of Kleenex, as I had a good cry. I realized I was the one who had been forgiven.
I now accept and comprehend the magnitude of Jesus' death. I always believed it; I just didn't grasp the depth of its meaning on my heart.
I'm glad I'm born anew, and will no longer be uneasy when asked if I'm a Christian and why.
Prayer: Lord, we pray this day that you would touch our hearts. Guide and direct us into the path you wish for each of us to take. We thank you for Jesus and what His death represents. Let us forgive others knowing we ourselves have received the ultimate forgiveness. Amen.