There is an odd dichotomy in the Christian community. Often, we are told and tell others to be like Christ, but we are also always made well aware that we are sinful and can never be perfect. I believe that this is part of the reason why when asked who we want to be like, we always qualify, “Other than Jesus.” We all know that Jesus should be our answer. But I know very few people who can honestly say that at the forefront of their imagination.
In addition, I believe that we have problems relating with Christ not just because of his perfection, but because we have forgotten how to read. When we read Scriptures, we don’t know how we fit into the picture. We can’t imagine it as being real.
Christ suffered. He was ridiculed. He felt sadness. He cried when his followers did not understand the truth. He was anguished. He was a person. We seem to keep his infinite power and knowledge at the forefront of our minds, and not his humanity. Furthermore, we remember the stories of Scripture as a lesson, and forget to remember them as a story.
For example, when we want to be like Christ, be like God, we should look at how he responded and acted in certain events. Christ acted with compassion on the sick. At times he was in the middle of trying to get away from the crowds, but felt compassion and stayed to help them.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, we see stories that exhibit God’s patience. When the Israelites were saved from Egypt, they complained that they would be killed. God saved them. Then they complained about water, then food, then the kind of food. God patiently provided for them even when they were whining.
If we remember events as stories, and then call these stories to mind when we need that quality that will be much more effective than just telling ourselves to be more patient. We can think to ourselves, “Okay God, you were patient with the Israelites, please help me to be patient with my, spouse/sibling/children/friends/enemies.”
Know the stories that God tells, and that will show you how to emulate God.