Why is being known important?
If we are not known, who is going to bother listening to us? How often do we let strangers help us? My wife was walking down the street the other day and someone pulled up alongside of her and offered to give her a ride. She wisely declined. She didn’t know the man. And so, she kept going the way she was and a little more warily at that.
We fear what we do not know. But, knowing is more than accumulating information and facts. Facts can be skewed. Information can be lies. Knowledge can give us comfort and power, but Jesus’ power came from his submission to God.
So, then, if knowledge is power, and we want to be like Jesus, then our power comes through sacrificial and loving relationships in which we submit to the needs of others. Being known requires a relationship to something or someone. We are not known in isolation, compared to nothing.
We know things by how we relate to them. We are known by our relationships to things as well.
How are we personally known? How are we known as a church in this community? Who knows us? Why does it matter? What happens when we are known? Does it change anything?
As Christians and as Church, it is only in relation to Jesus that we can be truly known. And that is both for good and ill. If our relationship to Jesus is healthy and ongoing, then people will notice. If our relationship to Jesus is broken or opposing, they will notice more.
What we say about a relationship and how it actually plays out are not always the same thing. Think about any relationship. I can say that I am married, but if I’m running around on my wife, then my heart and my actions are not in line with what I say. And everyone can see that.
In the same way, if we claim to be in a relationship with Jesus, if we say we are Christians, and yet we are not honoring that relationship with our hearts and our actions, then we are lying and the world can see that!
That does more damage than not claiming to believe at all. That is why how we know ourselves and how the world knows us is important. Put another way, the way we self-identify and the way the world identifies us makes a huge difference on our ability to do or say anything for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.
How people know us and how we know ourselves has a huge impact on what we are able to communicate.