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“Christ the True Friend” written by George Makary

Upon reading the title of this post, you probably said, “Say what now?” But it’s true. Well, kind of. When you love someone, you incorporate that person into your life. You talk to them; you spend time with them, you share your life with them—no, they become a part of your life. More of a part of your life because you begin to define yourself in terms of that person. I’m not talking about losing your identity as an individual or becoming someone “else.” However, how you identify as an individual takes a new form; you take the role of being in a relationship with that person and everything that entails. It is different from loving an object. I love pizza, but I don’t sit there and have intellectual conversations with it. I don’t spend quality time connecting with pizza; loving an object is not truly love. “Love” in English is weak; in Greek, the terms for love are within a construct of a relationship with another being. Love is something reciprocated between two personal beings.

One of the biggest things I struggled with is the concept that God is a personal God Who personally wants a personal relationship with me. This idea of a relationship with God is one of the most overlooked ideas in the Church nowadays because of the fear of other denominations’ influence. But there is a more fundamental question I need to ask myself, is God a person or a thing? The way I answer this question is crucial because it will dictate how I interact with God. When I say God, what do I mean by that? Do I define God as some “Supreme Being” or “Supernatural Force?” Limiting God merely as those things turn God from personal to impersonal; instead of thinking of God as Someone, it makes Him Something, not He but It. Other religions may paint the idea of God being impersonal. Hinduism is polytheistic; Buddhism does not necessarily believe in God, and Islam believes that Allah is obscure. Only in Christianity is the belief that God is personal and shows His love for me through the Incarnation and everything that entails.

As put by one priest throughout the Bible, “God is pictured as Someone with Whom we can communicate; Someone Who addresses us and Whom we can address.” For example, the 10 Commandments were a personal “you” within the Hebrew language. Each command is addressed to us personally, “You, Tony, Bob, shall…or shall not…” Look at Exodus 33:11 to see how personal God is, “So the Lord spoke to Moses, face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Even in the Old Testament, when the Law is what ruled the people of God, He was still personable. So then what about Christianity itself?

Is Christianity actually a religion? Christianity is not a set of rules that I follow or a lifestyle I choose to live. To reduce Christianity to a mere manner of living is to belittle our Lord Jesus Christ’s Incarnation. Christianity is a Person: our Lord Jesus Christ, Who presents us to the Father through His humanity and gives us communion with Him through sending the Holy Spirit. The same priest defined the essence of Christianity as a love relationship with God. The more we love God, the more we will love to do His will, pray, serve, obey, and follow Him.

Only when I believe God is a Person, not a thing, will I be able to love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. Only when I believe Christianity is a Person, not a set of rules, will I be able to say to God, “You are the life of us all, the salvation of us all, the hope of us all, the healing of us all, and the resurrection of us all.”