Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Christian Friend

I’ve had the pleasure of keeping in touch with a widow of a mentor of mine that passed away nearly two years ago. This woman is precious! She and I have become rather close through mailing correspondence, as well as the every-once-in-a-while telephone conversation. In all actuality, I am not even sure she would be able to pick me out of a line-up, though we’ve talk in person briefly on two occasions that I recall: once at my undergraduate graduation, and the second time at the visitation service for her late husband. At those times, neither of us knew the friendship that we would end up developing, nor were we aware of the impact we would have on one another’s lives. There’s no doubt in my mind that this lady has been quite the blessing to me, but apparently from what she writes in her cards to me, I’ve had some impact on her life too. A statement from her most recent card to me says, “Kimberly, I loved talking to you and I think of you so much. The beautiful “Tribute to the Life” [of my late husband] was so amazing and I still love to read it.”

So many times, along with the card she sends me a gift. Each gift I’ve gotten from her sit proudly around my bedroom. This most recent card was no different, in that a gift was included. This time it was a cute frame with a statement inside reading, “Christian Friend. It is such a blessing to have a Christian friend like you. God bless you.” This lady is such a giving precious friend. You can expect I will be picking out a place in my room for this gift too! But before that time comes I can’t help but sit and read the statement within the frame and ask myself, “What makes a ‘Christian Friend?’”

Sure, technically, when going “by the book,” a Christian is one who has been baptized into the family of Christ. So without having taken that action in one’s life, one is not entitled, so to say, to labeling one’s self as a Christian. I can understand that, and I do not debate it. Nor do I claim the title personally, but let’s go beyond the technicalities for a bit.

What makes a “Christian Friend?”

Is it the “Christ-like” behaviors that one might take on? Can one pick out a “Christian Friend” by his/her lifestyle? By one’s behaviors in their everyday life?

Granted any of you who are not reading this weblog for the first time, are probably aware that I’ve never been baptized, so you most likely would not call me a “Christian Friend,” but what about those who do not know this about me.

I can look back on a note I got from a friend a few years back and it says, “I am thankful that I am your sister, not only in Christ but in GATA for life.” Was she referencing me as a “Christian Friend” in slightly different words? Never did I tell her I was a baptized Christian. Was it just simply assumed? Or did my behaviors lead her to thinking I was?

Can a “Christian Friend” be someone who lives their life in a manner that is striving to be just to the point of the Christ-like example?

I’ve got a card from someone else from a few years ago that states, “Your Christian example is so impressive, and so many people have noticed it! God has used you in an incredible way, and I pray that you can always remain as influential as you are now.”

So can a “Christian friend” be someone who is just setting a Christ-like “example?”

Then there’s the email from another individual stating, “I appreciate your loving and Christian attitude in your letter.”

So there has to be more to the “Christian Friend” and “Christian example” and “Christian attitude” than the process of being baptized into Christ.

Should I assume that each of these people’s statements would have been taken back had they known at the time that I was not a baptized Christian? One of the above quotes was actually made by someone who reads this blog. So knowing I am not baptized, would I, or anyone else not baptized not be a “Christian example” or a “Christian Friend” or have a “Christian attitude” any longer for you?

Just some thoughts…

[As I look back on this entry I feel like it comes off with a tone of sounding as if I’m confronting or accusing people of false statements, or that I’m trying to place people in the wrong. Please realize that is NOT my intent at all. I am merely trying to get a better understanding on people’s views of using “Christian” as an adjective. What makes a CHRISTIAN ______? Does that make sense? As I reflect on “Christian” being used as an adjective, I am curious as to what makes it appropriate for usage when describing.]

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