We reveal our identity
in many different ways. Clothes tell something about
our occupation or the group with whom we associate.
Accents reveal where we live or where we grew up.
Business cards reveal our occupation and phone
numbers. Bio sheets tell about our education and job
Jesus, however, says
Christians are identified by one particular trait. It
is the one unmistakably accurate way others can know
we belong to him: All people know you are my
followers by your love for one another.
After I had spoken on
this topic in another city, a lady told me a story
powerfully illustrating this point. A series of
events in her town profoundly impacted everyone and
gave witness to the character of Jesus Christ in the
lives of a loving group of people.
On August 28, 1993, Mark
Knutson was diagnosed with cancer. It was an
especially bad form of cancer and he was already in
the latter stages of it. He wasnt given long to
live. Mark was not well enough to receive visitors.
He worried about his wife and two children. How would
they hold up? Would they be loved and supported
through his ordeal?
On September 19, he
received his answer. The Knutson family opened the
window and saw the street filled with Christian
friends. After completely encircling the house, the
people joined hands and prayed. They prayed for Mark.
They prayed for his family. They prayed for grace and
strength. They let the Knutson family know they were
Unlike so many modern
displays of concern, their care didnt end with
one public display. For the next six weeks, groups
from 2 to 20 would pray for Mark and his family in
the corner of the yard. They kept a prayer register
on the back porch so Mark could know who had been
there without disturbing him. Some faithfully sent
cards of concern and support while others helped with
transportation and other needs of the Knutsons
children. The Knutson family said, We truly
felt a hedge of love encircling our home.
We cannot rewrite
the final chapter in Mark Knutsons struggle
with cancer. Life is real and none of us gets out
alive. What matters most is that we love and are
loved. We all need to know there is a hedge of love
encircling our home. We all need to be part of that
encircling hedge for someone else. Thankfully for the
Knutson family, and their community, there was a
group of people who demonstrated they belonged to
In a world of
self-interest, there is still one distinguishing mark
for a Christian. It isn't the sign in front of our
church building, the bumper sticker on our car, the
fish ring on our finger, or the crucifix we wear
around our neck. Our real identity is demonstrated
when we actively and consistenly love each other.
Lets make sure the proof of our discipleship is