Years ago, my sister told me this story about something that happened to her on an airplane. She was traveling to different countries back then doing hair shows with a hairdresser colleague of hers who happened to be homosexual.
She and her friend were approached by two long-haired dudes on this plane. I’ll never forget how she had described them at this point of the story as “hot.” These guys were really friendly so she wondered if they were hitting on her. But they were just as friendly with her colleague, too, so she began to believe they were hitting on him.
Then, the unthinkable happened. They asked my sister and her friend if they believed in Jesus! My sister was floored. Her eyes bugged out of her head as she exclaimed, “Connie! They were Jesus Freaks!”
I was perplexed. I thought she knew I took my Christian faith seriously. In fact, she’d often gotten defensive with me about some comment I’d made as though I were judging her because of my faith when I wasn’t. And here, she’s astonished to have met other people with the same belief and called them freaks to me.
How was I supposed to respond to that?
You may say, maybe she didn’t mean “freak” in a bad way ;o). In fact, some Christians use the term with pride. Well, considering these long-haired, “hot” dudes were later described as “greasy” at the end of the same recounting of the story, I’m thinking she meant freaks in a bad way.
And there’s more …
Some years after this incident my sister came to Christ—I mean all-out, on-fire-for-the-Lord kind of coming to Christ. She had been a believer for a couple years and one day mentioned it to me. Knowing that any mention of my faith to her had made her run in the other direction in the past, I greeted this news with warm enthusiasm, though I was cautiously rejoicing inside. She told me how disappointed she had been that no one in her family had been present for her baptism. I asked her why she hadn’t invited me. She said she didn’t think my faith was the same as her faith. When I told her what mine was (now that it was safe to) she said she’d never really known me before.
She didn’t. And I was not allowed to tell her because the minute I would share the one thing most important to me it was somehow twisted into being self-righteous and judgmental, when to me, it was just my passion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve never been self-righteous and judgmental—I’m no better than your average Joe. It’s just that it seemed to take on a whole new meaning because I was a Christian.
So why am I telling these stories?
First, because if you are not “a believer” and you have a tendency to think those of us who wear the term are somehow freaks, self-righteous and judgmental, please take another look. Yes, we have standards that we strive toward—only because we believe that God knows better than we, lowly humans, do. And even though we know this with our minds, we continually fail to meet those standards ourselves. It doesn’t mean we should stop trying.
We don’t believe we are better than those not of the faith. If we did, we wouldn’t need a Savior to wipe away our myriad of sins. It’s just that we sometimes want to tell the world about this great God, what He knows, and what He did for us.
Cuz it’s really cool!!!
Okay, sometimes we get a little excited about it, but for us, Jesus dying to wipe away our sins means an eternity of joy. So when you’re feeling bogged down with the complexities of life, maybe we just want to help—
So sue us ;o).
Or better yet, forgive us if we go too far.
Second, if you are a “follower of Christ” who thinks your faith is somehow more enlightened than the other person who manifests the same faith differently than you do, think again. You may be separating yourself from a different member of The Body who has something important to share with you. He or she may not be different, but complementary and just what you need to accomplish a complete ministry within your church.
My sister and I are extremely different. This used to drive us apart. Now we see it as parts of a whole. We’ve learned soooooo much from each other that we’d never have learned had we only considered the others incompleteness.
Thank you, Jesus, that you allowed us to see!
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