Reveal Christ through Your Kindness

All Christians desire to be an example of Christ. We pray. We attend Church services. We even fast. All these things Christ did, but still our lives do not inspire others to see Christ. Maybe it is because we do not reveal Him in our daily lives, but only in private Church services.

Today is the Feast of the Venerable Saint Pachomios the Great. Like so many stories, he became a Christian because of the genuine kindness showed to him while he was a pagan soldier. When the Christians should have been afraid of him, they ministered to him.

Saint Pachomios lived at a time when Christians normally feared for their lives. Our Christian ancestors had every reason to keep their distance from pagans. It was their love for Christ and their desire to be like Christ, that guided their choices. What guides our choices?

One time many years ago I heard a bishop preaching about evangelism. He said, “People will not become Orthodox because of our Liturgy. They will become Orthodox because of our lives. They know where we attend Church. When they see us at work, they see our Church.”

It isn’t our behavior inside the Church building that reveals Christ to our neighbors. It is our life outside the walls of the Church. Are we kind to our enemies, or do we plot against them? What sort of life do others see in our daily choices?

We cannot blame our society for our lack of Church growth. If our Orthodox Church is not growing, it isn’t because we fast too much. It is because our lives outside the walls of the Church do not match what we speak inside the walls. Our hypocrisy shows instead of Christ.

We cannot blame language and cultural barriers for the lack of Church growth. No amount of English will reveal Christ if we are shrewd and ruthless at work. No shiny ad campaign will reveal Christ to others. American consumers are used to fake promises from commercials.

When Saint Pachomios became a Christian, his life became so virtuous that thousands gathered around him. When they saw him, they saw Christ. What do they see when they see us out in public?

To Live A New Life In Christ is much more than tracking daily vesper attendance and reading ingredient labels to keep the fast. It is about our daily life choices and our interactions with others. If they see Christ, then we are Christians. If they do not see Christ, then who are we?

If our life in Christ is limited to keeping the fast, attending Church services, maintaining long prayer rules, ‘dotting every i, and crossing every t’, then we are not Christians. We are Pharisees. I don’t remember the last time a Pharisee attracted others to Christ. Do you?

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