It’s Not Personal

We have all seen one version or another of the mobster shows where the “hit man” walks up to his good buddy who has had a contract put on his life and say, “Sorry, Rico. It’s not personal, it’s just business.” At which point, Rico’s left ventricle gets very personal with a 32-mag bullet. How can the man say such a thing–“Its not personal”–when the truth is that it doesn’t get much more personal than that!

More recently, I have seen the ads for a new “reality show” called “The Apprentice” where several people are competing to work for Donald Trump. The winner gets a job with a six-figure salary. The losers get fired. One ad has Donald saying, “Its not personal, its just business!” This is all too common a mentality in our world today. When it comes to dealing with personal relationships, we seek to depersonalize them thinking that our “objectivity” will excuse us from the responsibility of our decisions in that relationship. But no matter how many times the phrase “It’s not personal” is said, there is a person on the other end of the relationship.

Christianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus. The personal Son of God, came to this earth and was crucified on a very personal cross so that the world might be personally saved. The genius of God’s plan to save is that it is a very personal plan. Each unique person has the opportunity to personally accept or reject this plan. Acceptance means that you have a very personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Paul wrote, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Notice the personal pronouns in this verse. Christianity is a very personal religion that depends upon individuals having a personal relationship with Christ.

When we are blessed with a personal relationship with Jesus, then He expects us to take our relationship with Him personally. In part, this means that we seek to help others have a personal relationship with him too. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations�” (Matthew 28:19ASV). Making disciples means that we teach others to be crucified with Christ and to give themselves over to a personal relationship with Him. In turn, when these others have a personal relationship with Christ, then we have a personal relationship with them. Fellowship with other Christians is about acknowledging the personal relationship that they have with Jesus. John writes, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Too, when a Christian leaves their personal relationship with Christ they leave their personal relationship with other Christians. Jesus takes such a situation personally, and so should we. Christianity should be taken personally.

How is it, then, that someone can say, “It’s not personal” when dealing with personal relationships? Those who say such are simply not being honest. They fail to recognize that personal actions are created from personal beliefs. Jesus upheld this concept in Matthew 15:19. He said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” The actions of our lives, whether sinful or righteous, first originate within the heart with our own personal beliefs. The truth is that when we truly and personally believe something, we will act personally upon that belief and our actions toward other people tell them what we believe. The apostle John draws on this principle through his first epistle. He states, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). John tells us that mere words do not necessarily reflect the fact of our love. When someone says, “Its not personal,” and proceeds to affect you, by their actions, in a personal way, their words are not agreeing with their beliefs. John calls it lying (1 John 4:20).

Christianity is a personal religion that demands personal belief that results in personal actions. The relationships that we maintain, both with God and other Christians are personal. When we honestly examine those relationships, we will understand that they are built upon our own personal faith and the actions that result from that faith. When we recognize this, we will not try to depersonalize our application of the gospel. We will not think that our “objectivity” will excuse us from the responsibility of our decisions in that relationship. Instead, we will recognize that true objectivity requires of us a personal effort toward maintaining and building better relationships both with God and with one another. The expression, “its not personal” is not an expression that should be uttered from the lips of a Christian because with Christianity, its always personal.

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