Over the past several years, Hollywood has had a fascination with what many call ‘Reality TV.’ Though many of the themes and settings are fictional, the ‘reality’ the producers are marketing is the aggressive competitiveness among the participants. The more callous and cold-blooded the contestants are to each other, the more thrilling the show. Perhaps a better title would be – ‘Ruthless TV’.
I often use a thesaurus in writing these devotionals. A thesaurus is kind of like a dictionary, yet instead of giving a definition for a particular word, it lists other words that have a similar meaning. For instance, looking up the word ‘ruthless’ I find synonyms such as: brutal, callous, cold-blooded, cutthroat, fierce, hard-hearted, harsh, merciless, revengeful, unforgiving, unsympathetic, and vindictive.
Along with synonyms, most thesauruses will also give another list of words known as – ‘antonyms.’ Whereas a synonym is a word that has a similar meaning, an antonym is a word that has the exact opposite meaning.
Synonyms for the word ‘ruthless’ are: brutal, callous, cold-blooded
Antonyms for the word ‘ruthless’ are: kind, compassionate, humane, caring and gentle
With that in mind, consider what the Apostle Paul wrote about what it means to be a Christian.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)
Notice that Paul said – ‘live a life of love.’ The word ‘love’ is a good synonym for what it means to be a Christian. Christians aren’t cold, calloused and hard-hearted. Christians are kind, caring, gentle and compassionate.
According to the Bible, what is a synonym for being a child of this world is an antonym for being a child of God, and what is a synonym for being a child of God is an antonym for being a child of this world. We read from the book of James –
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Paul tells us to be imitators of God, and live a life of love. What is the example of love that God has set before us to follow? “…just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”