Saturday midday we stopped in at a barbeque place just outside of our hometown as my mouth was watering for some good ole tomatoes and rice. No, this isn’t the traditional side with barbeque in the South, but there was hash and rice as well as the pork barbeque meat also. All day, though, I had a craving for those dang tomatoes and rice.
We walked though the line filling our plates with all of the goodness that the buffet offered. Oh, I could not wait to dive into those tomatoes! My family and I found a good seat by the door, on the end of the table, and we bowed our heads to say the blessing before we started eating. After we finished the prayer, we dove into our plates. Imagine food slinging as both of our hands were at work with our forks shoveling food into our mouths. JUST KIDDING!! It wasn’t quite that bad. Close, but … again, kidding.
I looked up from my plate to see a group coming through the door. To me, it looked like a youth group or maybe a family from the church with a few teens with them. The man spoke with an authoritative tone, and everyone in the group seemed to look to him as they made their way through the buffet line, to the table of their choice, and right on up to the point where he lead them in prayer before their meal.
I paused for a moment admiring them showing their faith as they bowed their heads to pray. I listened as the man loudly said the blessing for the group, and then they began to partake of their meal.
Yes, it had to be a youth group … or something pertaining to the church, I thought.
Then it happened.
The moment that changed everything.
As the gentleman was speaking, he slipped in a curse word, and in that instance, he ruined his witness for Christ, in my eyes.
Could the conversation have done without the curse word? Absolutely! It was not necessary and did not add anything to the conversation. If anything, it greatly took away from it with the need for him to say such a dirty word. And … it most definitely ruined the whole feel I had about him and the group.
Maybe I was wrong after all … maybe they were NOT a part of the youth group or a part of a church. But, if they were, they totally ruined their witness for Christ with what went down shortly after their prayer.
The same man that prayed with such conviction and authority is the same one that turned around and said that bad word.
Then it hit me.
What is ruining your witness, I thought to myself.
It wasn’t long before my husband could tell that I was lost in my thoughts, so he inquired as to what I was thinking. I began to tell him what I had observed and how my thoughts wandered to what we do that ruins our witness. No, we aren’t perfect, and we aren’t supposed to be. We are supposed to strive to live a good life and do good to all those that we encounter. But it occurred to me that just as we sat there watching this group as they entered the doors right on up to their conversation that we couldn’t help but overhear at a nearby table, people are watching us, too!
Maybe you haven’t given this much thought either until now, but people especially watch Christians and hold them more accountable and to a higher standard because we do proclaim to be Christians, which means we are to exhibit Christ-like behavior. But, do we always? No … we don’t.
When we lose our patience with the clerk behind the counter at the store …
When we smart off at people …
When we get an attitude, whether we feel it is warranted or not …
Do we stop to remember that the bible says we are to sin NOT in our anger? Do we obey?
How about in general conversation, just like this man … do we slip in curse words that we feel add to the conversation to make it more interesting? Here’s a newsflash: They aren’t needed! If you feel that your words aren’t interesting enough in themselves without adding in curse words, maybe you should just sit quietly.
I’m not just preaching and not taking this into consideration in my own life. Believe me. I’ve been thinking on this all weekend long! All of the above is something I’ve been thinking on and telling myself within the last few days.
Even sarcasm isn’t necessary. Some times it is funny when you are joking around and the person knows you are just kidding, but be sure not to take it too far to where it ends up being insulting.
Will you take time to think on this and see what items may be ruining your witness and what you may need to change? I know I will.