The two friends stood in the checkout line snickering at the cashier. They commented on her hair, her makeup, her clothes. They called her names and ridiculed her. The cashier, who comes across very "colorful" people all day long didn't pay too much attention until the two women paused from their mocking session just long enough to converse over their nervousness regarding the church solo that one of them would be performing on Sunday. The cashier looked up and said sheepishly, "So, you are Christians. That will be nineteen dollars and 48 cents." The two women were deeply offended at the tone in which the cashier spoke to them and demanded to speak to the manager at once. The manager, who had seen this whole event take place, cordially greeted the women. They ranted and raved to the manager all about the hostility they received undeservedly from the cashier. The manger nicely said, "Thank you ladies. Before I can proceed with any action regarding my employee I will review the DVR tape." They looked at him with anger, and a slight bit of confusion. And then his voice softened into a quiet whisper. "I was once a pastor, and there are many things I would like to share with you right now regarding what the Bible says about how you spoke to my cashier." He then stood there staring at them. Their faces filled with embarrassment and they quickly took their belongings and left the store.
That manager came to his home later that evening embarrassed at how those women behaved. He came home with a heavy heart because he knew that the event had just further confirmed to those women that Christians were hypocrites and frauds. He walked in his home defeated because for every step he makes with these people, "Christians" come and knock him back another four.
That manager is my husband.
Dave was so angry that night, like many other Sunday nights after he gets off work. The Christians, some still with their name tags with their church's logo proudly on it, coming in and treating people with great disrespect and disdain. But my heart hurts because more importantly than the logo of a church, we are representing something much greater. We are supposed to be the reflection of Christ to a broken and dying world - yet we mock and sneer, and behave as badly or worse than those who have never even heard the name of Jesus.
Christians are humans, I understand that, but we are supposed to know (personally) the Remedy. In the Doctrine book that I mentioned a couple posts ago by Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears, they likened us to a broken mirror, reflecting the image of God, that is getting pieced back together instead of the proverbial empty cup that is being filled. We have that responsibility to show people Christ; what are you doing with that?
I stood in line yesterday at the store buying formula for my baby, desperately trying to fight a migraine that won the battle for the most party of yesterday. I was grumpy, tired, and feeling all but Christ like. When it was my turn, the lady gave me a half smile and I may have grunted back (seriously, two migraines in three days with four kids under four is not a recipe for a loving reflection of God!) but I in no way took it as an invitation for a discussion. I could tell she was having a rough day, but so was I - and so we were both just going to have to deal with it.
BY THE WAY, THIS POST IS AS MUCH DIRECTED AT ME AS IT IS TO THOSE WHO READ IT.
As I took my change and began to walk away, I heard the couple who was in line behind me greet the cashier with, "Have you ever heard that Jesus loves you? You look like you have had a rough day, and we just wanted to remind you that He loves you." I watched as the disposition of the cashier melted and a huge burden appeared to have lifted off her back. I was convicted.
We can go to our Bible studies, and our church meetings. We can go to our home groups and our prayer events. We can read the best devotionals and study the Bible with deep fervor. We can sing great solos and write great blogs - but in the end, what does our reflection look like?
God can use even the most broken of mirrors, as we won't be totally perfect and put together until we are with Him, but can people make Christ out when they look at you or do they cut themselves on the broken shards of glass? Just remember, they won't know that we are Christians by our lofty knowledge or our wonderful Christianese speak; but in John 13:35 Jesus tells us how they will know:
"This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."
So as you go about your day, just think on this: Who are you reflecting today?