I grew up in Ethiopia, Africa.
My father was helping to set up a teacher training college to improve the quality of education there. In Ethiopia I saw the heartbreaking effects of poverty and the incredible value of literacy. However, there was a life-changing lesson: In Ethiopia, I learned what it means to be Christian.
Many are surprised to discover that Ethiopia is a predominately Christian country. The Coptic Christian tradition began in the first century in Egypt and spread to Ethiopia. I remember many devoted people who had the Coptic cross tattooed on their foreheads.
When I asked my parents about this, they explained that these people marked themselves with the cross to let everyone know they were Christians.
I said, “Then I want one because I am a Christian too.”
My parents taught me that it is not a cross on your forehead or around your neck that makes you a Christian. It is what is inside—the way you feel, the way you believe, and the way you live—that indicates your relationship with God. Mike McKinley wrote, “Simply saying that you are a Christian doesn’t mean you really are one” (Am I Really a Christian? [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011], 16).
Do people know we are Christians?
Do they know it because of a bumper sticker on our cars or a piece of jewelry?
Or do they know it because of the way we live?