Working Through an Issue
Working Through an Issue
A few weeks ago I was having a discussion with Andy, a friend and customer, about faith in the workplace. Our discussion was taking place in the midst of my workplace, which is the hair salon that my wife Jackie and I own and operate, and it came on the heels of a tour that I had given Andy of our recently completed expansion.
At one point in our conversation, Andy told me that he’d like to be as open as I am about God, and my faith, but he just couldn’t do it. When I pressed him for a reason as to why he couldn’t, he looked straight into my eyes and said “Because you’re a blatant Christian, Sam. You share your faith and love for God, wherever you are, with no fear of the consequences.”
For a brief moment I almost took offense to Andy’s remark, because the term blatant is most always associated with offensive behavior. But just as quickly I realized that Andy was paying me a compliment. Brazen, bold, or outspoken may have been more fitting descriptions about my sharing of God’s goodness, but I’d certainly accept blatant.
I’m certainly not bashful when it comes to sharing my love of God and my beliefs with others, no matter where, no matter when.
To be honest with you, it’s my openness and transparency about what I believe and who I am that is prompting this post.
I’m a Christian…
a blatant Christian, according to my friend Andy. I share my heart with people because, well because I love ‘em, and because that’s what Christians are supposed to do. I share my love for God with people, because that’s what I’m supposed to do, as in “being a light that shines” for Him.
Look, before I continue I’ve gotta tell you that I’m working through a couple of issues right now, and they have to do with being a Christian. Well, what I’m struggling with is the result of being a blatant Christian, and I have to get through this, and I guess that if you hang around, you’re gonna work through it with me.
And I’m gonna tell you a couple of things right up front. First of all, I’m not looking for pity. I don’t own a “pity pot” for you to sit on with me, and I certainly don’t want one. Secondly, if it seems as though I’m frustrated, it’s because I am, and it’s been building up in me for weeks.
And apparently it’s part of God’s plan for me to share this with you because I can’t find a way over, under, or around it! Today’s post was gonna be For Him, and it’s 80% complete, and it’s really good, but for the life of me I couldn’t finish it because this is in the way…
Yep, I’m a blatant Christian.
I wouldn’t be anything else.
Sometimes I wonder if being an open book Christian is an invitation for others to treat me in whatever manner they see fit. Does it give them license to lie to me, or to steal from me, or to take advantage of my giving nature? And why is it seemingly so easy for some to renege on a spoken agreement? Is it because I’m a Christian, and that makes everything okay? Do they think that I won’t mind?
Well, it doesn’t make it okay, and I do mind, and that in itself is giving me problems for reasons other than the most obvious ones.
Everyone is looking.
And they’re waiting to see what my reaction to certain situations is gonna be. I think that some are waiting for me to show that I’m not the Christian that I say I am, that this thing about God is just a sham. Perhaps they find it hard to believe that a man can be born again and completely devote his life to God. Perhaps they’re just waiting for that one last thing that pushes me over the edge, the one that makes me show my true colors.
Well guess what?
These are my true colors. Oh sure, I get hurt. And I get frustrated. And I wish that these things wouldn’t happen, but they do. And when they do, I can only turn to God and to prayer.
You see, it’s the blatant Christian in me that will not allow me to get angry, or to seek vengeance, or try to get even. I just can’t do that.
I’ve actually come to a point in my life that I actually pray for those who’ve offended me. This is due, partly in fact to who I am, and partly because of the man that I used to be. The “old me” was short-tempered, vindictive, greedy, and very angry. I cannot go back to being that man. Besides, I’m so filled with God’s love and presence that there’s no room for that man.
Yep, I’m a blatant Christian.
And I’m just a regular guy. I suspect that I’m gonna struggle with this in the future. I’m not foolish enough to think that it’s gonna go away because I’ve written about it today. And I’m quite sure that I’m not gonna change who I am, what I do, or how I do it.
This afternoon I was sharing my frustration with Brooke, a young ministry student visiting from Minnesota who will spend the next ten months living in our home. Sensing the anguish that was on my heart, Brooke suggested that I read the following verse from the Bible.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:18-20
What a perfect verse for me today. Thank you, Brooke, for your wisdom, and for your caring.
I leave you with one final verse. I don’t know that it “fits” here, but I’m gonna include it because it always gives me comfort and strength when there is seemingly none to be found.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary,
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not grow faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
Amen and Amen.
See you next week.