We have many symbols to define our ancestors on the genealogy websites. Most people are familiar with the flags of different countries and coats of arms to represent the family crest, but there are other symbols as well. There are pictures of immigrant ships to signify an ancestor was an immigrant and symbols that represent sons and daughters of the American Revolution for those whose ancestors fought for America’s independence and even symbols to show which side your relative fought for during the civil war.
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Do we need all these symbols? It seems human nature to define ourselves by our favorite sports teams or alma mater. Sometimes we even flaunt our favorite entertainment or politics on Facebook. Maybe we like symbols because they remind us we are not alone, but part of a larger community.
For many Christians the most important symbols are the cross and the Bible, but what happens when these treasured symbols are used by other Christians to reject and divide? What is the worth of a symbol if it ostracized the very people who need it the most?
Unlike the Daughters of the American Revolution or The Sons of Norway, the Christian church cannot afford to be exclusive. Exclusivity goes against everything the cross stands for. Because we don’t live in a simple world; we have many interpretations of the Bible and the people who claim the Bible as their symbol often have completely different lifestyles from each other.
It’s great to share our point of view but what if we listened as well as shared. As social media spreads to our friends and neighbors, people are starting to polarize. We like to join groups where everyone thinks just like we do. We want to take the world by storm with our personal take on God, but while it’s good to share authentically, how many of us take a moment to consider what kind of flag we are flying for Jesus? Is it the flag of an exclusive club where people need to eat, talk, dress and think exactly like we do? Or will we dare to throw the doors open and accept those who are not like us?
Jesus shared his opinions freely, but every statement he made supported one goal– to reveal God’s love to our skeptical hearts. Every flag Jesus flew had one purpose–to set us free with God’s love.
Now this is eternal life:
that they know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent.
I have made you known to them,
and will continue to make you known
in order that the love you have for me
may be in them
and that I myself may be in them.
What kind of flag are you flying?