The word "christian" is often used as an adjective to mean "having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness." and also as a noun to mean someone who possesses those qualities. It is that usage of the word "christian" that I wish to use in this post. In the interest of focusing on the positive rather than the negative, I list here several people I know who are true christians. If I neglect to mention anyone in this list, it should not be inferred that it is because I believe them to be not christian, since I make no such implication in doing so.
Any list containing kind, selfless people would be incomplete without the mention of my late wife Karen who was, in virtually every way possible, a good christian. As I discussed in detail in this post, she is beyond question the most compassionate, understanding, humble, and selfless person I have known in my life.
The next person I'd like to highlight is my mother. My mom always tries to make sure everyone in the family feels loved and appreciated. She tries to smooth over any family difficulties that there may be, encouraging each of us to build on our commonalities rather than create distance between us due to our differences. She encourages us to love one another and to look past each others' failings, to assume that other people are doing the best they can and not be upset when they don't live up to the expectations that we have for them.
My sister Lisa is a wonderful peacemaker in the family. She is very tender-hearted, and very giving. She has helped me out through many difficult times in life. She protected me from bullies in elementary and middle school. She got me my first job. She's ever sweet and ever accepting. She does a good job at not judging other people or telling them what she thinks they should or shouldn't do with their lives. She does all she can to promote peace and harmony.
Karen's mother is a person who has a near infinite capacity to love. She keeps on giving, even beyond what most people would consider a very generous amount of love and kindness. Ever since I started dating Karen, I have been treated as one of the family. This coming Christmas will be my third since Karen passed away, and each year I have been included in the family festivities. I won't be able to attend in person this year, since Conrad and I won't be able to make it out to Utah, but I am included in the gift exchange and in spirit. Karen's mom continues to call me, to talk to me, and to treat me as her own son. In most cases, when a gay person who is married heterosexually comes out of the closet after years of marriage, their in-laws (and in some cases even their own family) turn against them, view them as an enemy, and discontinues contact or only maintains contact in order to remind the gay person of how evil they are and what a horrible thing they've done to their son/daughter. Karen's mom, however, has been able to see through the irrationality of such behavior, and has recognized that while Karen was alive, I was a good husband to her--I treated her well and I was kind to her. And so, Karen's mom has shown true compassion.
Karen's sister Tanya is also an amazing person. She's very thoughtful. She writes emails, calls, and posts on my wall, just to say hi and ask how I'm doing. She's always thinking about other people and how she can brighten their day. She comes up with wonderful ways to have fun when the family's together. She's very grateful, very quick to apologize, very good at smoothing things over.
Conrad's mother has also been very loving and accepting. When Conrad's brother got married this last May, she asked me to be in their family pictures at the temple. That meant a lot to me. She has treated me like part of the family and has done a lot to reach out to me and make me feel welcome. When I went down to Texas to pick Conrad up to move him here to Tennessee, they threw a going-away party for Conrad, and the whole family gathered to have dinner together. It was good. She also threatened me that I had better invite her and my own parents to the wedding.
I promise there are compassionate, loving men in my life too. It's easier to think of women that are, but men can be just as loving and caring. My brother Marc is a wonderful father to his children. He is very loving with them, very patient, and very fun. As an older brother, he always picked on me and teased me while we were growing up, and even a little bit after we became adults too. But, it became quite clear that this was his way of showing love. As soon as I understood that, I could see how beautiful his heart was. He is a very tender and loving man.
I have a friend named Brent who is very loving as well. I hope he doesn't mind me writing about him, but in case he does mind I'll withhold his surname. At any rate, he and I have been friends for about 10 years now. He is probably the most humble person I have ever met. He is very slow to anger, very amiable, very diplomatic. He's good at calming down tense situations--especially angry debates online. He is kind in every possible way.
So, let us each look for the good in people, emphasize that good, and emulate it. And may we all be the embodiment of what a Christian ought to be (regardless of religious belief or whether you believe that Christ was divine). Let us be kind, loving, charitable, forgiving, meek, humble.