Funny, quick story…with a moral at the end.
Do you ever have those Sunday mornings when you just feel like all Hell is against your attempts at simply going to church. I mean, it’s not like we were trying to go preach to millions…or feed a thousand starving children in the Congo…or even help my neighbor move his stuff across town. We just wanted to worship…on Easter.
Well, after much suffering, we did make it…and we were only a few minutes late. I think we upset the parking guy when we drove right past his waving arms to the front row, but by God’s grace, we were still allowed into the building. Also by God’s grace, none of my kiddos caused a raucus which meant we were able to engage the entire service! I mentioned to my beloved wife on the way home how I’m always glad we made the extra effort to fight through a rough morning to be with God’s people. I felt like Ralphie with this Red Rider carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle…all was right with the world.
Uh, did I mention my beloved wife…yeah, you’ll need to remember that in a minute.
One the way home…it’s wet…we’re one block from my house…approaching the ONE light within 100 miles of my house that has a red light camera. You guessed it…it turns from green to yellow at that perfect moment where on a slick road, there seems to be no right answer….run the light going very fast, or slam on the breaks and slide through it. In my mind, I decided the former…but, my beloved (catch that?) wife verbally, shall we say, disagreed with my approach to the problem.
And so, we skidded up to the line and through it before I had to let off the brake. As we looked at each other, we both noticed the flick of the camera light…busted! (BTW, for those of you thinking, “hey, just be thankful no one got hurt” … awe, just be quiet. Someone is going to be hurt…my wallet!)
I confess, for the next few minutes, I got very creative…perhaps the most creative I have ever been in my life. I had two problems: a) how do I convince myself that this was not my fault; b) how do I convince the court this was not my fault. My beloved bore the brunt of (a) for her “feedback” on my original decision; and, the slick roads were going to take the blame for (b). If my beloved had not opened her mouth, then my original plan would have worked. And, there is no way anyone could have avoided running that light given the weather. If the police had an actual officer there rather than a camera, they would have seen and understood that! Yeah, none of this was really my fault. Not surprising, because it’s never my fault!
Do any of you have kids that constantly ask ‘why’? Well, I’m still one of those kids, and I bother myself with the question more than anyone else. Why am I trying to cast the blame? Because that’s what people do when they feel like their reputation is threatened. Ouch.
Here’s the encouragement: reputation among men has NO value, so stop worrying about it.
But isn’t it good to have a Godly reputation, given that we are ambassadors for Christ? YES…but, the means do not justify the ends. In other words, you have to genuinely be Godly and not simply look Godly, otherwise it is a false testimony and not pleasing to God. And so, my attitude is one where I will remain focused on growing in knowledge, character, and behavior by knowing God’s word, believing it, and obeying it as God enables me. No where in any of this is a need to look like the “ideal” Christian, because there is no such thing.
As a matter of fact, “ideal” Christians are “fake” Christians. Remain committed to the journey, and you will please God…even if you look silly from time to time to other people.