Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. [Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT)]
In our part of Florida, yellow lights tend to mean “speed up” and red lights are just mere suggestions so no one really expects anyone to stop at a yellow. Although the light had just turned yellow, the elderly gentleman stopped his car. “The #@!% idiot should have sped through the intersection!” said the women following him. Having been tailgating his car, she was furious at having to brake so abruptly. Already late, now she’d be even later. Moreover, the unexpected stop caused her to spill her coffee and drop both her cell phone and makeup. Angry, she laid on the horn, called him a few more choice expletives, shook her fists and even gave him the middle-finger salute! She was in mid-rant when she looked up to see a police officer at her window. He politely ordered her to exit the car. Having forgotten her driver’s license in another purse, she was transported to the police station, fingerprinted, photographed, and finally placed in a holding cell.
A few hours later, the woman was released and escorted her to the booking desk where the arresting officer waited for her. “I’m so sorry for this mistake,” he meekly apologized. “You see, I pulled up behind you while you were honking your horn, cussing a blue streak, and flipping off the old man. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ and ‘Follow Me to Sunday School’ bumper stickers, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate, the cross decal and the chrome-plated Christian fish on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car!”
I thought of this Internet humor today when I received an ad for a new line of Christian sportswear. Founded by Christian athletes, the apparel has faith inspired designs and messages like “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” or “My Game His Glory.” If we wear our faith on our shirts or cars, we better make sure our conduct lives up to it. We wouldn’t want anyone to think we stole either the shirt or the car. We should be sure that our behavior would make someone want to follow us to Sunday school rather than run the other way!
Father in heaven, guide us today so that our actions reflect our faith. Let everything we do demonstrate not only our love for you but also the love we should have for our neighbors. Don’t let our poor behavior contradict your message of peace, love and forgiveness. May our conduct show the world that we truly are your disciples. In those moments that try our patience or spark our temper, remind us to lovingly pray for people when we’d much prefer yelling at them.
Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every man were such as you, and every life like yours, this earth would be God’s Paradise. [Phillips Brooks]