Today’s Gospel: John 8:31-42
“Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham.’”
As a parent, I’m very focused on my children and their behavior. I’m concerned about how squirmy and loud they are being during library story time and whether they adequately thanked the bank teller for the lollipops she gave them. I watch them carefully during play dates to be sure they are being kind to each other and to their friends. I am persistent in having them “make it right” if they hurt each other.
This is as it should be. It is my job to keep them safe, to teach them right from wrong, and to help them grow up with a solid concept of what appropriate behavior looks like. Part of my purpose in life is to help them learn to be followers of Jesus, and that means gently shaping their hearts and attitudes to be more and more like Christ.
Sometimes, though, I’m so attentive to their behavior that I don’t think as much about my own. I know right from wrong, and many positive behaviors are ingrained habits by now. I don’t have to think about not hitting my brothers and sisters or about using good manners at the table. Still, I’m also a work in progress. As a follower of Jesus myself, I need to be vigilant about my own heart and attitudes. I need to be sure that I am also becoming more and more like Christ.
If we are known by the kinds of lives we lead…if Abraham’s children should be doing Abraham’s work…then I am responsible for making sure my actions and attitudes make it clear that I belong to Jesus. If I’m often impatient with my children or short-tempered with my husband, or if I slam the car door in frustration when someone steals the parking space I wanted, am I showing that I belong to Christ? If I listen to gossip without speaking up or pretend not to see the homeless man that stands outside my parish every Sunday, am I demonstrating that I’m a follower of Jesus?
I know that every single day, I could be doing better.
We gain little by beating ourselves up for all the ways in which we are imperfect. We are human, and we are going to fail. What we can do is try to examine our lives closely for ways in which we can make our actions more closely mirror Christ and then lovingly encourage ourselves (and each other) to do a better job of living for Jesus…kind of the way we gently urge our children to use their forks instead of their fingers at the table.
What is one thing you could do today to make it clear that you are a follower of Christ?
Father, help mold my heart to be more like yours, and help me make my actions reflect that I belong to Christ.
Copyright 2014 Abbey Dupuy