Mick asked this question of me in another thread and I thought it was such a good question it deserved a thread of it’s own.
I’ve been trying to think about it since the question was asked, and I’m struggling to think of a value or character trait that would distinguish a christian from an ordinary joe.
From my own experiences, most of the character traits I’ve witnessed in ordinary non religious people, are what many would think of as christian traits or values, but the motivation behind them has nothing to do with christianity or any form of faith system.
In the army and air force I had the privilage to work with men and women who dedicated their lifes to the service of their fellow men. These men and women were faithful, loyal, honest, hard working, dedicated, and put others before themselves.
They were humble, honest, generous, and up front - they were fearless and said it as they saw it. I never knew one hypocrit amongst them.
They were obedient, supportive, teamplayers, and never held a grudge. You tend to find that people who know they could be killed at any moment know life is too short for holding grudges and not forgiving those who ‘‘trespass againt us’’.
They loved their families deeply, respected their elders and superiors, and had a very profound sense of what really matters in this life.
Ultimately, they were willing to lay down their lives.
What many didn’t do was go to a church or profess to follow any particular denomination. It goes without saying I served alongside many who were christians, but apart from reading from a bible and going to some church or other I didnt notice any difference.
So what traits are missing from these awesome men and women that a christian would exhibit? To me, they tick all the boxes for Galatians 5: 22- 23.
Sure, some of us got drunk, had fights, had sex with prostitutes, and used pornography. But I’m sure any catholic priest would confirm so do a huge percentage of catholic and non catholic christians.
Are there values that only apply to christians and one would not observe in a non christian?
Are there character traits that would only apply to christians and you wouldn’t observe these in a non christian?
Are these values and traits natural to a christian - or do they have to be learned/aquired/worked on?