I am a Christian (and what it means)

Mark Noonan clarifies what he believes starting with the fundamentals of his religion. It makes for a powerful statement from which we can all learn.

I am a Christian, and that entails certain obligations upon me. As I was purchased at a price, I am not actually entirely on my own out here – I have to do certain things in certain ways or I am negating my own existence. Among the things I have to do is to love my enemies. I cannot hate, you see? I cannot even use hatred – I can only work from the most generous and merciful disposition I can attain. Given this, I have to pre-suppose that those I deal with are dealing with me honestly. Even when I think someone wrong, I must presume that they are merely incorrect, and not perversely being incorrect because they are hopelessly corrupted. Only actions on the part of another can be allowed to convince me they have a baleful desire – and even then I cannot judge the whole person, only the action they are taking.

even that which has been with me for ages is forever being refined as my growing knowledge gives me better understanding.

In obedience to the commands of God, I pray every day that the hearts of our enemies will be opened to peace and love. I also pray that our leaders – all of them – will be given the wisdom to choose the correct policies for our nation.

I thank God that it isn’t up to me to decide war, or no war. I pity those in charge who have to make such decisions, I pray they make the right ones, and I won’t indict them before the bar of history with my incomplete information if things don’t go as my best hopes desire. It has been truly said that you shouldn’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes

I’ll finish with a quote from Lincoln: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in…”

We either live that out, or we are nothing.

We should not act out of malice or other destructive emotion. We should assume the best in others. We should only deal with specific actions and not on presumptions or extrapolations. We should avoid judgments.

What is your priority? What is your core belief? Can you state it as clearly as Mark does? Can you use that priority and belief as a standard for measuring your behavior?

As we can easily see, even some Christians are not always able to measure up to their goals. But that does not negate the value of their efforts nor the meaning of their beliefs. Let us hope that all of us can learn, gain knowledge, and refine our behavior and better be able to see each other and our common goals.

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