Every once in a while a complete stranger will walk up to me and say, “Excuse me, is your last name Larson?” It happened the other night at Chipotle while I was waiting for a burrito.
One time this happened to me while on a vacation with my family in Florida. I was playing miniature golf with my kids and the woman playing the hole in front of us kept looking back at me. After playing several holes she came back to where I was standing with my family. At first I thought that my boys had done something to upset her. Instead, she asked me my name. Honestly, it was a little creepy.
Knowing that my memory is not always the greatest my usual response is, “Do I know you?” In most cases I don’t know the person, but they happen to know one of my brothers or sisters.
This woman had seen a family resemblance in me that reminded her of one of my siblings. She said at first my voice was so similar to my brother. And then, as she looked closer, my eyes were just like his.
This started me wondering. Do I also resemble my other family – my heavenly family?
When people see me or talk to me, do they wonder, “Does he belong to the family of Jesus?” Is there a heavenly family resemblance in me that can be recognized? Would a stranger on the street, meeting me for the first time, ever come to the conclusion by the way that I act, speak, or treat others that I was a Christian?
I remember a song that I sang at camp when I was about 7-years-old, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Is that true of me? Is how I love someone bearing any resemblance to how Christ loves them? Does the amount of compassion, empathy, forgiveness that I offer to others have any similarity to Christ’s? Am I selfless or selfish? Do I honor God in what I do? Do I seek to love what Christ loves?
Of our two boys, one looks more like me and the other looks more like my wife. We have no control over these outward physical traits.
However, we can impact those inward traits. Through our example, teaching, guidance, and love, we can help our kids resemble Christ.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11 that we are to “Follow my example, as I follow Christ’s example.”
Our deepest desire as Christian parents is that our kids would resemble Christ in who they are at the core.
And hopefully, as we encounter those around us, “They will know that we are Christians by our love.”