I imagine there may have been two types of reactions to my last post: resounding “Amens,” or the conclusion that I am a self-righteous, religious prude after all.
Truth be told, I am not as hung up on things like cussin’ and drinkin’ as when I see professing Christians (especially if they are in the ministry) flaunt those things, perhaps carelessly, in the public arena (cyber and otherwise). For the sake of love, I’d rather err on the side of caution than risk offending someone in that way.
But I feel the real hypocrites in the church are not those with “exterior sins,” but people who commonly act the way I once did....
Long, long ago (very long ago, when I was about two years old), I drove a half an hour to visit a new consignment shop (Less restrictive driving laws back then.). My sister, Grace, was with me. To our dismay, the store owner, for whatever reason, had closed the shop for the day. We saw her through the locked glass doors, and knocked until she came to see what we wanted.
“We drove a long way, from out of town, to visit your shop,” I said. “There was nothing on your website or answering machine about you being closed today.” I was curt enough to evoke a defensive response from the poor woman.
Grace whispered in my ear, “Be a Christian.” (Back then I would have said that she “hissed” in my ear.)
I then turned on my sister, and I wasn’t very nice. Not to my sister, and not to the lady who owned the store. And not to my sister in front of the lady who owned the store.
Oh, I had a point. I was right in my argument that we’d wasted all that time and gas for nothing. But one can be right the wrong way.
This is the biggest mistake Christians make in a world in which we’re supposed to model Christ. I see it happen all the time (now that I’m all grown up and matured beyond this kind of behavior. Wink.). I don’t care how non-alcoholic and clean-tongued a Christian is, there’s nothing like rudeness, complaining, or a harsh tone (in person or in a Facebook status) to kill one’s “witness.”
This is why waitresses dread working on Sundays. This is why we have a bad name. This is what makes us, in fact, unChristian.
Nowadays, when in situations like the one mentioned above, I ask myself, “What if this person visits my church next Sunday? What if she attends my speaking engagement?”
Perhaps the main question each of us should ask before venting any (even justifiable) rage in public is, “What if this person finds out I’m a Christian?”
And that is what I was trying to say all along.
"Woe to you...hypocrites! For you...have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith." Matthew 23:23 NKJV