Continued from here.
Because I wear a cross necklace, I communicate to the world that I am representing Jesus, even if I never have a conversation with the people around me. If I meet disappointment or aggravation with anger, the cross around my neck communicates to the people around me that God is an impatient and angry God. Conversely, when I have every understandable reason to blow my stack but, instead, react with grace and compassion, I communicate to those around me that God is both patient and loving. I do not need to say a word to evangelize those around me. My behavior communicates my faith.
Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. It doesn’t matter how many crosses you wear on your body or how many fish symbols you display on your car. What’s communicated to the world is what you DO, not how you choose to adorn yourself. How heartbreaking when the atheists are the ones showing compassion while the Christians behave badly. While those Christians might be heading to heaven and avoiding hell, they are unlikely to bring anyone else along with them until they start behaving in a Christlike manner.
The reality is that our sinful nature makes each of us selfish. Just because you receive Jesus as your Savior does not magically make this selfishness go away. Replacing our natural selfishness with Christlikeness takes time and requires much effort as we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.
I work in professional ministry with a prison ministry. My colleague and I repeatedly remind our volunteers that the inmates are not the only people they are ministering to. How they represent Christ as they go through security and interact with the prison personnel affects how those people see God as well. Are our prison ministry volunteers more patient about delays in going through security than other volunteers? Do our volunteers accept being turned away from volunteering for the night with grace, or do they pitch a fit about not getting to go into the prison that evening? Every action we take communicates something about God to the people around us. How well are you representing God to others?
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace leaning on a giant peach. Courtesy Bitmoji.]