If you have spent any time on social media you might have seen the multitude of quizzes that have arisen. There must be a million sites where people can design – and I use the word loosely – a quiz to tell you what colour you should dye your hair, or what your favourite food reveals about you, or what pet you should own or what pet you would like says about your character, what colour lightsaber would you wield, what time period do you belong in, what country should you live in. I confess to having done some and apparently I should be a pink-haired iguana owning Victorian with a blue lightsaber… (ok I made some of that up cos the quizzes are meaningless fluff that are pretty forgettable, except the pink hair…. ).
Yesterday I started thinking about nationality. We have some real stereotypes regarding nations: all French people are romantic, Italians talk a lot, Spanish take a lot of siestas, Germans are very precise and orderly, Canadians are very polite, Australians drink a lot, the British show no emotions, Irish are the life of the party, Romanians are likely to be vampires and so on. We have stereotypes about other groups too: all football (soccer) fans are hooligans, cricket fans are gentlemen, girls don’t like sports, geeks have no social skills, boys are stronger than girls. It’s amazing how we like to find an image and cram people into it and even when we know better we still slip into that mindset – it’s the basis of a lot of humour.
But I started to think about being part of the Kingdom of God. I wondered what stereotype we would be assigned? Judgemental hypocrites springs to mind. I’ve seen several sites where people are trying to dissociate themselves from Christian stereotypes by rejecting the word fundamentalist. I understand why they do it and I’m not discussing that here but it’s sad that our image is so tarnished. So I thought what should be the characteristics of a citizen of the Kingdom of God, one called out of darkness into light and I didn’t have to go too far to find Paul’s answer.
22 The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this.
Paul was of course only repeating what Jesus had said.
35 If you want to be extraordinary—love your enemies! Do good without restraint! Lend with abandon! Don’t expect anything in return! Then you’ll receive the truly great reward—you will be children of the Most High—for God is kind to the ungrateful and those who are wicked. 36 So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is.
The world is never going to love us. Jesus told us that. And it will always find a way to mock us, to deny what we say. But our duty isn’t to make the world love us it’s to bear witness to the Truth of God’s love. It’s to announce the Kingdom of God and bring that Kingdom wherever we go. We are literally ambassadors of the Kingdom. We have no diplomatic immunity but the ground where we tread is Kingdom soil. We have to act as if the laws of His Kingdom are in effect wherever we go because we carry the Kingdom within us.
There are 2 laws (as I said yesterday and many times before and, without doubt, I will again because I have a tendency to forget): love Him, love them. How awesome would it be if the only thing they could accuse me of was loving too much?