We live in a country where postmodernism is a leading worldview. The transition from the modern era to postmodern was slower and more complex than most people will let on in conversation. However, most educators will agree on a general timetable, the mid to late twentieth century, and a common victim—truth. The second World War offers an excellent case in point. After the Industrial Revolution and centuries of innovation and discovery in the arts, sciences and humanities, someone like Hitler turns it all against humanity. This led to massive disillusionment in the West and the slow death of a commonly shared vision. More than ever, authenticity is at a premium. The human mind and soul, more than ever, is searching for someone who is trustworthy and faithful. Someone who presents their past life and future goals without deceit. How can we know we have found such a person? What should we look for?
Christians say, "The Cross of Jesus Christ." That is the badge we wear. The Cross is the badge someone must wear to communicate one simple message, "I can be trusted." Our confession of faith in Christ, whether it be to our family, friends, coworkers, or strangers in the grocery store, is a confession of more than belief in God. People that have surrendered their lives to Christ, whether they know it or not, have stitched scarlet letters onto their wardrobe. Three things are tacitly admitted when someone identifies with Christ.
First, professing to be a Christian is an open admission to an unjust past. There are no skeletons in the closet; our testimony is a show-and-tell of our skeletons. The Apostle Paul said he was the chief of sinners and that all believers lived just like the pagan world when he said in Ephesians, "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts." Going to the Cross requires that a person leave a life, not only of unbelief but of unrestrained indulgence. No person is born with natural belief in the one true God, living an upright and honest life. We all grope in the dark until we are drawn by the light of God towards the knowledge of Christ, His Son, and our Savior.
Second, it is a full disclosure of an ongoing struggle to be just in our daily living and decision making. Writing to the Galatians, Paul describes a lifelong battle that begins when a person is regenerated and receives the Holy Spirit. In the fifth chapter he says, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." The sincere Christian doesn't make promises of moral perfection because the sincere Christian is still human; the Christian wears a natural body like everyone else. It is the new Spirit Christians receive that instigates the struggle against selfish living in the first place.
Lastly and most importantly, the Cross is a pledge to do justice in every sphere of one's life. Bowing our knee at the Cross is not simply surrendering the shady details of our past, but making subservient our will to God's will in the future. In a fascinating metaphor, Paul characterizes this launchpad for the new life as a mutual or shared crucifixion when in Galatians he says, "...those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." There is then a natural expectation on the part of unbelievers that professed Christians live differently.
How do you know you can trust someone? Look for their badge, Look for the Cross.