Food for Thought: Demonstrating Who We Are
by Ardith Hoff
A story is told about the famous Bible illustrator Paul Gustave Dore who was traveling in Europe back when everyone had to show their passports to cross borders. The artist faced a predicament of reaching a border crossing and discovering that he had misplaced his passport. Without his papers, the officials wouldn’t allow Dore to pass. Finally, Dore was given a test to prove his identity. The official gave him a piece of paper and a pencil and requested that he draw a group of nearby workers. Dore did so with such ease that the official was convinced that he was indeed the famous artist he claimed to be.
Paul Dore’s identity was affirmed through his ability to demonstrate his artistry. How can we identify ourselves and prove who we are and what we are all about? Are we Christians in name only or can we prove it?
In John 12:34-36 Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” In other words, it is when we realize that God’s love is the greatest love of all that we start to understand what love is. We start to understand that because he demonstrated His love through the sacrifice of his only son to save us all, that we are able to pass that love on. It is then that we have identified ourselves as God’s children, capable of extending His love to others, even in difficult situations.
We can demonstrate godly love by joyfully giving of our time, talents, energy, and resources to mission projects such as welcoming, listening, volunteering, donating, comforting, and witnessing. It is even more effective in demonstrating our love for God and our neighbors, if we show love to those who irritate us such as telemarketers or even those who hate us.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you show love to one another.” John 13:35 That is how we demonstrate who we are.