I've been a follower of Christ since I was eighteen, and yes, I blow it each and every day. I try to live my life as authentically before God as possible, but at the end of the day, I have to relive the good and the bad, and try to figure out how to better reach a hurting world with the good news of Christ instead of rendering myself ineffective.
For example, this young zealot at one time would tell a complete stranger, "Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb, yet?" What? Seriously? What on earth was I thinking? I can only imagine the poor guy sitting there in the mall eating his Dippin' Dots was seeing images of a Carrie movie or something. Okay, using Christian-ese is a bad way to witness. Got it.
And what about our witness with our language? I hate to say this, but when the whole "let no unclean thing come out of your mouth" was written, words like "pissed" weren't even invented. So who decides what kind of word is clean or unclean? And how far should we go to rid the world of potty-mouthness?
I'll tell you this. Those who don't follow Christ are not impressed that you say "poo-poo" instead of... well... shit.
But here's where my point comes in.
When I used that word, what was your initial reaction? Disdain? Anger? Ambivalence?
I remember a friend once told me about the first page of a Christian book he once read that shocked him. It said something like this:
There are billions of people in the world starving, and you don't give a shit. What's worse, you're likely more concerned with the expletive I just used instead of the billions of starving people. It's time to put our perspective in order.
That's always stuck with me. Does that mean I should just cut loose with F-bombs and S-bombs freely and loosely? What do you think? I've learned that people could care less about whether I can refrain from screaming a curse word when I crush my shin into the corner of a table. Rather, they desperately want to know that I truly, honestly care for them.
Like an older pastor once told our church, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
So what do you think? Have we as a church missed the mark when it comes to keeping things in perspective? Is our witness effective that we focus so intently on doing so right instead of making our lives about living in thankfulness for God's grace?
We're not perfect. I'm not perfect. I mess up. I curse. A lot actually.
I used to let this problem consume me. I gave it to God so often I ended up wasting time doing that instead of praying for my friends and thinking about how I could reach out to them in God's grace.
I needed a shift in perspective, and God continues to do so in my life.
Tonight I might not go to bed trying to figure out how to feed a billion starving people, but at least I can ask God to give me grace to love those He'll send my way tomorrow.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Any thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? I'm all ears. But please be kind.