Christian is recognizable by his or her love for their fellow
man. This comes from one of the teachings of Jesus which is as
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have
loved you, that ye also love one another.
(John 13:34, KJV)
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love
one to another.
(John 13:35, KJV)
I have mentioned before the difference between religion and
Christianity. This is the guts of it. Religionists talk the
talk but a Christian walks the walk. A Christian will
exhibit a sacrificial love for his or her fellow man. They will
be prepared to go out of their way to help someone, often at some
personal cost to themselves. In an extreme case they will lay
down their own life to save someone else. Any man worth his salt
will stick his neck out for his family and loved ones, but a Christian
will do it for a stranger.
They are not the sort of people who say to a homeless man that they
will pray for him. They are the sort of people who will take him
into their own home. They will knowingly place themselves at risk
in doing this because some of the homeless are less than honest, but
they will show that person a glimpse of a different lifestyle, and
trust God to protect them from any evil that may come out of their
A Christian is a person who sees it as duty to feed the hungry and
house the homeless. They are not frightened to get their hands
dirty in doing the Lord's work and representing Jesus in the
world. They are prepared to share the gifts God has given them,
whether it be wealth or knowledge or even a big house.
The law of God is the ten commandments. Sin is defined as
transgression of that law. The ten commandments can be divided
into two. The first four define how we are to love God and the
remaining six define how we are to love each other. However, it
is not possible to have a self sacrificial love for others without the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit because such goes against human nature
which places self first.
The bible tells us that if we are able to exhibit this kind of love for
other people, we have fulfilled all the requirements of the law.
That means the Holy Spirit will be dwelling inside us, whether we have
known Jesus or not.
While love for one's fellow man identifies a person as a disciple of
Jesus, not exhibiting that love exposes a false Christian. It is
a sad fact that many who profess Christianity are hypocrites; not
letting their Christian beliefs interfere with how they do business or
relate to others in day to day life. Here is a little poem I was taught
at school by a Teacher with a capital 'T', Bill McNicol. He
recommended it as a code for living.
The religious world is heavily
populated with people who are only too
willing to condemn others. There are also plenty who feel so
strongly about their religious duty that they seek to force their views
on others and in extreme cases force them at penalty of death. We
saw this happen throughout the dark ages when the dominant Roman
Catholic church in Europe executed millions of people for the crime of
being a 'heretic'. Muslims call people who do not share their
views 'Infidels' and will willingly kill an infidel who does not adopt
their religion. In countries under Muslim rule converting to
Christianity carries the death penalty.
ABOU BEN ADHEM
Hall 1836: Original Text Reference.
Composition Date: unknown. Publication Date: 1838.
Ed. (text): J. D. Robins; (e-text): I. Lancashire.
Rep. Poetry: 2RP.2.156.
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:--
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"--The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
The Christian recognizes that God has given us all a free choice and
God wants people who come to Him willingly and of their own free
will. There is no place for coercion or force. Any church,
organization or country that enforces religious observance is NOT of
God. No true follower of Jesus has ever persecuted or tried
to force anyone against their will.
There is nothing I can do that will make God love me more than He
already does, and there is nothing I can do that will make God stop
loving me. His love is unconditional. He will not force
me. If I sin, He will forgive me provided I repent. He will
seek me if I stray. He gave His life in the crucifixion of the
man Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, so that I could choose to have
eternal life if I wanted to. As a Christian, I am to reflect that
character. Not to condemn, but to save; and hopefully, by my
example lead others to accept Jesus for themselves. Anyone so
moved should understand that I am a sinner, and my example is
flawed. The example to follow is that of Jesus Christ, given to
us in the Gospel books of the New Testament.