You know who I mean. You remember in elementary school when the teacher threatened to take away recess time because of the one kid who wouldn’t stay quiet in line? And then we all had to suffer? Yep, “that guy” (or girl) is alive and well in adulthood too, but on a new level. The police officer who uses too much force. The teacher who has a relationship with a student. One person who has to ruin it for everyone else. The one person who tarnishes the integrity of an occupation, religion, ethnic or racial group, etc. And last week, it was a Christian pastor who likes to get attention.
With the recent Starbucks Merry Christmas ridiculousness (and my fav article on the situation – bazinga!), it has been weighing on me how silly people – and, some days, I – sound when trying to be “good” Christians. Then I had my own “that guy” moment this week when I read this article about “4 ways the modern church looks nothing like the early church.”
I offer this reflection with a caveat – I’m not an expert. I definitely don’t think I know it all. And please, please, offer your replies via the link above. I would love to have my worldview widened by readers’ knowledge and experiences.
Every day I am a hypocrite. I don’t serve others the way Jesus served. I put my selfish needs first most days (except when it comes to taking care of Baby O, and then I don’t care for myself as I should; and I think many parents are the same). I don’t trust God enough – or not at all, some days. I don’t read my Bible every day, and most weeks I only open it at church at Sunday. I struggle with being the kind of follower Christ would be proud of.
As silly as this may sound, I think it is difficult to be a Christian in a rich country like the U.S. The tenth commandment is being violated like crazy: don’t covet what others have. I’m continually jealous over the things ads encourage me to buy, and many of us attempt to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I want to clarify: this is not me whining about how tough I have it. My life is so good – there are people all over the world who live in fear of their lives due to violence, malnutrition, disease, and the list could go on and on. But we each have our sins to deal with, and for many, that sin is trying to reach the American dream.
It can be hard to not feel…defeated. And what a sad world to live in if that’s your reality! But I don’t have to feel like I’m fighting a battle! Because Jesus knew everyday would a struggle for us. He knew all people would face challenges each day, and he hopes that we will rely on him when the burden feels too heavy. Like when I get road-ragey. (I’m not proud of it.) Or when I have to deal with another Christian, woman, wife, mother, daughter, educator – name any identity feature about me, and there has definitely been a “that girl” who has likely embarrassed that group of people. Because none of us are perfect. And we shouldn’t expect each other to be perfect. But we certainly shouldn’t get all crazy on each other when we mess up. Because negativity tears people down. And Internet rants, where faceless beings feel empowered to strip away the dignity of people they don’t know, are getting silly. (Case in point: Celebrities read mean tweets on Jimmy Kimmel. Watch out – rough language involved.)
With that in mind, we’re all going to mess up. I might even have an embarrassingly silly online rant or two in my future. And I know I’ll be “that guy” – and you will too. Please just be kind to me. And I’ll try to extend the same courtesy to you.
Ghostbuster photo credit: http://genius.com/920529