Among her many works, Dr. Maya Angelou wrote a poem entitled Christian.The term Christian is first used in the book of Acts, and referred to those who believed Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead after His crucifixion, and to be the Messiah, who took our sins upon Him.. The word is used only 3 times in the King James bible.
- Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
- Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
- 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Today there are individuals who attend church services and may have even been baptized, who consider themselves to be Christians, but do not believe Jesus died for our sins. Two most notably are Jane Fonda and Oprah Winfrey. Both have voiced publicly, that they believe in the teachings of Christ but do not believe he died for the sins of mankind.
Some people make Christianity about obeying certain biblical rules, and principles. Others believe it is about living clean and sober. In the first two stanzas of her poem Ms Angelou expresses otherwise.
When I say “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin. I’m whispering “I was lost,” I Now I’m found and forgiven. In stanza 2 Ms Angelou states: When I say…”I am a Christian” I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need CHRIST to be my guide.
Often there is pride in Christianity, with people bragging about thee sins they do no commit, while putting down those who fall short in these areas. This is especially true when it comes to those who struggle with homosexuality or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Dr. Angelou’s response in the third a 4th stanzas of her poem is:
When I say “I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need HIS strength to carry on. When I say…”I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success. ,” I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
The final lines of the poem sum it all up: When I say “I am a Christian” I I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, . but God believes I am worth it. When I say”I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain, I have my share of heartaches So I call upon HIS name.
Maya Angelou had success as it is defined in the secular world. In spite of her fame and fortune, this poem shows that she did not get caught up in hr own press. She acknowledged her short comings and humbly leaned on Christ. If you ever get confused about what it means to be a Christian, reflect on th words to this poem.
A Christian is not some holier than thou individual who walks the earth as if he or she has no faults. A true follower of Christ realizes every day how weak we are, and rely on His strength and not our own. A Christian is one who has believed Christ has atoned for our sins, and we can add nothing to His finished work on the cross.
True believers, like Maya Angelou, know deep in their hearts, what those like Oprah and Jane Fonda have yet to realize” But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, C hrist died for us. (Romans 5:8)
We are not perfect, neither are we better than others who believe differently. Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned. The only difference between believers and non believers is that based on faith in Christ that our sins are forgiven