We are told to be Christ-like, which as far as I can tell, means to most Christians, “Be like the Jesus of your imagination.”
Jesus is a complex guy. When humans deal with complex subjects, they like to simplify. Simplify usually means “skip the parts I don’t know what to do with.”
Jesus is known for being loving and kind. He compassionately heals the blind and the lame and feeds the hungry. To be like this Christ we assume we should become Mr. Rogers and happily live with all those in our neighborhood.
But then there’s angry Jesus who curses fig trees, flips over tables, and calls Pharisees blind leaders of the blind, which not only is rude to them, but what about the poor blind people being insulted as well? Jesus just seems ticked off.
But then, just when you think Jesus is some angry, tyrannical jerk, He doesn’t judge the woman caught in adultery, He patiently explains things to His dense disciples, and then submits quietly to death on the cross. He’s a pushover.
But then, just when you think you have Jesus pegged as Oprah, He asks the woman at the well how many men she has, tells the rich young ruler to give away all his possessions, and then tells some guys to eat His flesh and drink His blood! How annoying!
So, which Jesus do we become like? Mr Rogers Jesus? Oprah Jesus? Ticked Off Jesus? Annoying Jesus?
Usually we answer that by becoming who we are! If you’re a Mr Rogers type individual, you’ll be more like Mr Rogers with a few Bible verses thrown in. If you’re a ticked off guy, you’ll tick off people with a few Bible verses.
But is that the answer? Is becoming like Christ just being like you with more verses?
I don’t think so. I think it means becoming like Christ. Christ is complex. He is the embodiment of God’s Word. He is the righteousness of God revealed from heaven. He is love.
You are not those things!
Yes, we each have personal characteristics that make us different from each other, but there is also a unity at the core of Christians that binds us together. The core is Christ.
The Church should not consist of cookie-cutter people, all looking and acting the same. We’re different and that’s not just OK, that’s good.
Some of you Mr Rogers types should probably get a little more judgmentalism going in your life. Be a little more ticked off every once in a while, life is not as cheery as you think it is. Feel some pain. Deal with reality. Face injustice.
Some of you ticked off people need to chill some. Get some more compassion, keep some of your judgments on everyone’s sin to yourself. Maybe just accept a couple people. Life is not as bad as you think it is.
Being like Christ is a complex issue because Christ is complex. Keep Him complex. This will also keep you in dependence upon His Holy Spirit to transform you into Christ. The fact that we need God’s power working in us to do the transforming, is enough to let me know that this is no simple task.
Get to know Christ. Know all parts of Him. Especially note His actions and words that you don’t like. That’s pointing out something about you. Believers have the mind of Christ. Use it!