This account happened several years ago but it reflects in my mind during election years and during the discussions on abortion.
I wanted to share it with you, not as a political statement, but as an example of the image you project.
Warning: This is a lengthy post, but well worth your time.
It was a warm, fall Sunday.
It was one of those Sundays where leaving services you felt great. The preaching was good. (Amen?) The singing was great, the prayers touched the garments of God and the fellowship with God and each other was tremendous.
Everyone leaving the assembly seemed joyous until…
Have you ever had one of those moments where it made you sick as sick can feel?
The pit of your stomach turns with the force of ten roller coasters. You feel sick and angry.
Well, it happened to me! I tried to shrug it off with a laugh and a grin, but I had seen it before, and I am sure I would see it again.
The more I think about it the more my stomach turns. It has turned so much that it was one gigantic knot.
The thoughts race through my mind, “Why would they do that?”, “Who were they serving?” and “Boy, they need to repent.”
I guess what hurt me most was other people saw it.
I did not see it myself, but I saw the ramifications of a Christian’s actions.
What happened did not happen in front of elderly Christians you had been a part of the church for decades. It happened in front of young couples with children.
As I walked past the young couples they stood in disgust. Several were laughing with the nervous, “unbelieving of what they just saw grin.” The others were torn between what to say and what to do. They wanted to laugh, but then they could not.
I do not know what the children saw. If they saw anything, they will remember. If they did not, they will hear about it later. I imagine it will be one of those stories that lives in the mind of those young couples for as long as their lungs can take a breath.
The story is an example how one should not act. The children, hearing that, will remember the individuals and wonder about the church.
I pray that I am wrong. But if you do not believe me, just wait and ask those young people years down the road. They will tell you.
I know the events will live in my mind and my heart. To be honest, they will live in my family’s as well. They are a great part of me. They will hear this example used in sermons and even in a book or two.
By now you are wondering what happened, I know you are. You are wondering of what could be so bad that it will affect generations.
The answer—the actions of a Christian.
Back to the event of the day…
The day was a gorgeous one.
The problem for some, not me, was election day was drawing near.
There are a couple things you never talk about, or at least I have been told you don’t: politics and religion. Countless numbers of people have informed me of the rules of conduct regarding speech seasoned with politics and religion.
Random Thought Moment: (Maybe that is why the church is not growing, no one talks about religion. I will save that for another article)
When I walked out of the church building, I noticed flyers on each car.
One member came to the door, saw them and ran out to see what they were. His disagreed with them but never complained. Several others asked me what they were, so I told them they were a flyer discussing abortion and the upcoming election.
I never watched who did what from that point on; I tried to greet most people as they flooded out the door. Just as in any other assembly of people, they always people want to talk. I had been waiting for certain new attendees to walkout when I got caught in a Biblical conversation. The conversation was deep, but I was watching.
I saw them sneak past me, so I caught them in the parking lot. I walked fast to catch up to them. As I was going across the parking lot, another member caught me. They wanted to talk for a minute, so I obliged. After a minute or two I made it to the couple I wanted to talk from the beginning.
After talking with them for a while, I began walking back down the parking lot to do the normal duty of locking up the building for the afternoon. I noticed several young couples were talking and giggling. As I got closer, I heard them talking about someone throwing one of the pro-life flyers on the ground and driving off.
“What?” I said.
Both couples began to explain to me that one member of the congregation walked to their car, grabbed the flyer, glanced at it, then threw it on the ground and drove away.
I could not believe that a member of the Lord’s church would act that way. Both couples saw this individual do it causing their shock and confusion.
“Why would anyone do such a thing? A member of the church?”
“What is the big deal with a small flyer?”
“I never thought I would see that.”
The young couples were confused and troubled that a member, and a long attending member, would do such a thing.
Maybe it is just me but to think a member of the church would throw a pro-life flyer on the ground is horrible! What a disgrace to those innocent lives taken away.
Abortion is rampant enough, now a member of the church throws a flyer on the ground. Absurd! Infuriating! Shocking! Not to mention Littering!
I grimaced and snickered a little but my heart broke.
Babies will die; millions each year.
The Bible says it is wrong, but a member throws pro-life to the ground in front of others.
The actions of a Christian are to show the glory of God, did the actions of this Christian show the glory of God?
Of course not!
Jesus said we are to let our lights so shine before men that they may see our good works and they will glorify God in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Besides littering, tossing to the ground a paper describing the murder of thousands of lives a year is not glorifying God!
The image of a flyer being tossed from a member’s car as they drove away was the mental picture in mind of that young couple.
How can we glorify God when something like abortion is supported?
The answer—We cannot!
I am not trying to get political; I am trying to get Biblical. The way we act in front of people is a light to them. They should see God working in us.
I used to collect lighthouses.
It all started with Carrie buying me a collectible lighthouse for Christmas the first year we were married. Since then we have collected different lighthouses and placed around our living room.
Why do I like lighthouses so much? For one simple reason, they provide safety. Most of my life I have liked the ocean. (I say the majority because I once floated too far from the beach and could not get back because I could not swim. But I am over that now.)
Lighthouses provide safety to the ships that sail past during the foggy nights or a raging storm. They are a strength and encouragement to the sailors.
As a Christian your life is to be a lighthouse to the world. You are the light shining during their troubling storms. When the fog raises so much that is confuses man’s heart, your actions will be a guiding light to lead them to the Savior.
Paul tells the Philippian Christians they should not grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14) The reason? It is stated in the next two verses,
“… that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2.15-16; English Standard Version)
Paul does not want the Philippian Christians to grumble or complain so they can become:
- Children of God
- Children of God without fault
- Shining lights
- People holding fast the word of life
Have you ever known a Christian to grumble and complain about anything and everything?
I have known some Christians with a lack of joy in their life. I am sure you have too.
One time, at a congregation where I was speaking, I mentioned living a happy Christian life. One visiting church member spoke up and said, “Some Christians have a face and attitude that they have been weaned on vinegar and baptized in pickle juice.”
When he said that I almost passed out from laughing! I can think of every pulpit I have stood in and there have been those who never look happy.
Before you think of someone else, think of yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been baptized in pickle juice?
- Do I sing songs like “Sing and Be Happy” with a smile?
- Do I always have my arms crossed and a frown when I look at the preacher?
Are you the one everyone looks at when the preacher makes a strong point about bad attitudes?
What have your actions displayed today?
Just some thoughts,