Christian Values

Month

Value

March

Friendship

Friendship is an important value in our society, with children often spending more time with their friends than with family. It is a key concept in the Christian framework, with Jesus being criticised for being ‘the friend of sinners’ and eating with those whom society rejected.

Jesus tells stories of the heavenly banquet to which all are invited. The barriers between people are broken down in a loving community around God and Jesus had stern words to say to those who refused to recognise that all are included in this community of friendship.

The Bible has many sayings about friendship:

‘A friend loves at all times.’ (Proverbs 17:17)

The writer of Ecclesiastes puts it very simply: ‘if one falls down, a friend can lift him up’. (Ecclesiastes 4:10) 

April

Trust

‘Trust in the Lord’ is a central theme in the Psalms. Time and time again, God is the recognised as the source of all true security and strength.

Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust can mean putting yourself in others’ hands. We have to trust experts - pilots, dentists, surgeons. Yet, within our society, there often seems to be distrust between people and those responsible for leading them.

Trust is central to society, to living together in harmony, so it is to be valued and honoured. We can begin to rebuild trust by being reliable ourselves, by not letting people down. Similarly, when we work with others, if we are willing to let go of control ourselves and trust in the abilities and knowledge of others, everyone can be enriched.

May

Thankfulness

Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of God’s people.

Under the Law of Moses, there were not only sacrifices for forgiveness, there were ‘thanks offerings’ as well.

‘Songs of thankfulness and praise...’ are at the heart of Christian worship. Thankfulness is directed towards God who gives and sustains life. Seeing the world as God’s creation underpins the way we approach everything in life, seeing it as a gift and not as a right.

Thankfulness is important. Luke tells the story of the ten lepers who were healed and is probably challenging his readers to examine themselves when he tells of the amazement of Jesus that only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank him. (Luke 17:11-19).

June

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is fundamental to the character of God. Throughout the Bible, God is described as slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin (Numbers 14:18).

Jesus was uncompromising in his command to forgive. Forgive, he said, ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21).

In other words, forgive and keep on forgiving without limit.

Forgiveness was at the heart of everything he did and is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus declared a person’s sins to be forgiven, it often aroused the anger of those who were less willing to forgive than he was and yet a prayer for the forgiveness of his persecutors was on Jesus’ lips as he died.

July

Hope

The Christian understanding of hope is much deeper than our everyday use of the word can be. We hope that it will not rain for the picnic, or that the car will start or that the plumber will come tomorrow.

Hope is a universal human phenomenon. People hope for peace in time of war; food in time of famine; justice in time of oppression. Where hope is lost there is despair and disintegration.

Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times.

September

Compassion

Compassion’ and ‘sympathy’ have much in common and both are stronger in meaning than simply ‘feeling sorry for’ someone.

The words have their roots in the idea of ‘suffering with’ someone, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing what they experience. This leads to a desire to act, to do something. It is not about ‘doing good’ from a position of strength or ‘remembering those less fortunate than ourselves’. Compassion requires an act of imagination and humility to share in the lives of others.

 

In Colossians 3:12  Paul says:

‘Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’ 

October

Humility

Humility has a central place in Christ’s teaching. It is contrasted with pride. Ultimately, pride seeks to compete with God, whereas humility acknowledges that God is God and that we should live in trusting dependence upon God.

Jesus taught his followers that if they wished to enter the Kingdom of Heaven they must be like children. Jesus is challenging people to become like those who have no legal or social standing, to become like servants. Throughout his teaching, Jesus uses a series of images and examples to encourage his disciples to ‘take the lower place’, or ‘to wash each other’s feet.’

 

November

Peace

The Hebrew term for peace, ‘shalom’, has a deep and complex meaning, encompassing much more than simply the absence of hostility or war. Shalom includes ideas of healing and health, wholeness and well-being. It means harmony, stability and security within a community. It refers to relationships based on truth and righteousness, where people flourish because they are nurtured.

‘Swords will be beaten into ploughshares’ … ‘the wolf shall live with the lamb… no-one shall hurt or destroy…’ (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:1-9)

December

Endurance

Endurance and perseverance are only possible where there is hope and that hope is based on the enduring nature of God’s love and faithfulness. Even Jesus, for all his strength and ability to endure, looked to his disciples to help and sustain him by watching and praying with him (Matthew 26). žIn modern day life we are faced with many obstacles  that  challenge our resilience, if we can  hold onto the values mentioned in the New Testament, those of hope, patience , self-control and love, then we can increase our endurance in facing these obstacles. 

January

Justice (Fairness)

When thinking about ‘justice’, some people think first about giving wrongdoers the punishment they deserve. ‘Justice’ evokes ideas of ‘just deserts’, ’the punishment fitting the crime’, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. However, that would be a one-sided picture of justice. Justice also means giving all people - particularly the poor and struggling - what it is right and fair for them to have: life, health, freedom and dignity.   

February

Koinonia (Fellowship)

Koinonia is based on fellowship with Jesus. Through him, Christians share the relationship that Jesus has with God. In John 17, Jesus prays that all his followers may be ‘perfectly one’ as he and the Father are one. Through him, Christians become sons and daughters of God and therefore brothers and sisters of each other. They are all members of the same family.