How Do You Answer?

Who are YOU? That seems like a simple enough question. We might mention the job we have. We could respond with the size of the salary we have. We might call attention to the position we have in the company that we work for. There are many ways how that simple question can be answered. But these kinds of answers are NOT really for the question, “Who are you?”, but for the questions, “What do you DO?” “How WELL do you do it?”

Rather than playing a guessing game, I’ll just mention a few ways how, “Who are you?” can be answered. I am a human being. I am an animal, but with the ability to think. I have the ability to make good and bad decisions because I have free will. I can see, hear, and feel, but these are because of physical things like eyes, ears and nerve endings. I can think. Thinking is not physical. Thinking transcends, or rises above, the physical world. Thinking involves the spiritual realm. So, I am not only physical, but spiritual, as well.

In Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 16, vs. 13-17, we see Jesus asking the Apostles, Who do people say that the Son of man is? Their answer comes back with what they heard people saying, namely, John the Baptist, Elias, Jeremiah or a prophet. The question then turns to the Apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” -1 This is a question that He also asks us, you and me, to answer as well. We know Peter’s response, “You are Christ, The Son of the living God”. To which Jesus replies back to him that Peter has been blessed, because he doesn’t know this by his own doing, his humanity, but because of Jesus’ Father in Heaven, God.

So, Jesus asks us, also, “Who am I”? All of the ways we have been taught, from our earliest years on how to answer this, we know. We know them so well, that they have almost become meaningless to us. Jesus is the Christ! Yep, yep, I know that. What does that mean? He is the Savior, the Redeemer. What did He save? Who did He save? Why? What is this Redeemer business? Remember, we are animals, with the ability to think. We need to know the answers to all these questions. These answers should mean something to us. They must mean something to us! What does His life and death mean to me? To you? Did He really die for us? What is the relationship we have with Him, because of His life? His death? His Resurrection? If we are really being honest with ourselves, we must not just read these things, but internalize them. This is not question-and-answer time. This is question-and-what-does-this-really-mean-to-me time. Our life on this earth and for all of eternity is determined by how we answer these questions.

If we logically think through this process, we would hear our thoughts go like this: Christ, who is the Son of God, came to show me how to live. Mankind, of which I am part, has brutalized God. I turned my back on Him. I separated myself from God, through actions which I knew were not in my BEST interests. Jesus came to repair the damage. He died on the cross for me. For His life and death to mean something to me, I must know why He came into this world. For it to mean something to me, I must accept that He died because of things I have done.  For it to mean something to me, I must finally show my acceptance, by living in the fashion that Jesus showed me, namely, through love, concern and acceptance of others.

We look at our lives and realize we have grown soft. We like the comforts which we have become accustomed to, no matter how small. We don’t like to be inconvenienced. We are intolerant of others actions, especially when they disturb our peace of mind. We seek every creature comfort that we can afford, or want. The thought of right and wrong, we try not to think about. Our heads hurt when we think that deeply, so we turn up the sound box a little louder, so we can’t think, don’t have to think. Our children have become responsibilities that we put up with. They are no longer little people craving to learn how to cope with life, how to embrace their God, how to learn, how to love. We seek only ourselves and in so doing, are in the process of losing ourselves.

Christ knows how we are, with all of our deficiencies, and inclinations. He saw us before we were born and knew then of our shortcomings. And, He still loves us. Knowing our actions, He loves us and dies for us. He loves us, as we are NOW. How do we explain that? We who can’t tolerate another person’s awkward glance or stare, how do we explain a love that will die for us as we are? Infinite love is as incomprehensible to us, as the thought of an infinite God.

Knowing everything that we have said above, what does Christ want from us? He wants us to recognize who we are, complete with our deficiencies (our sins and evil inclinations), and still know that He loves us, right now! Does He want us to move towards Him? Of course, He does. But, He still loves us as we are, with an infinite love. We, for our part, must simply trust Him. We must totally accept His love, while acknowledging that our lives fall so very short of where they should be. How completely can we accept Jesus? Our life’s story will continue to play out, as we struggle to rein in our lives. Christ knows us for what we are, and we ashamedly, know what we are. The difference is we can’t tolerate ourselves, and Jesus loves us infinitely. He wants us to raise our minds, our hearts, our very existence, and offer them to Him. Take our lives, Lord, hold them, and do with them as You wish. We trust in You. If we trust Him, in this fashion, our lives will change. We will see others in a way we have never seen them before. They are our brothers and sisters, all struggling with the same problems we have.

-1 This is covered a little more thoroughly in the blog, “Who Do You Say I Am?