Several years ago I attended a few Christian women’s conventions. Sometimes I bought a T-shirt at the event–for some reason, I got the idea that was expected of Christians. I fell into the trap of thinking that because a person wears Christian-themed clothing, that makes the person a Christian.
But the clothes don’t make the person; it’s what inside that matters.
A couple years ago I was in a store waiting behind a customer. The man had a couple transactions to take care of, so I had time to read the back of the man’s T-shirt. (Yes, I do things like that while waiting in line; words draw my attention! 🙂 ) Various questions and Biblical answers pertaining to the gospel were printed on the shirt. It was certainly supposed to draw people to the Lord.
That’s why the words I overheard coming from the man were such a shock. He was obnoxious, belittling the cashier and asking if she could handle his transactions—or, should he do it? She politely assured him that she could do it. I cringed at his sarcasm; it was in such stark contrast to the message on his clothing. His attitude shouted louder than the message he thought he was getting across with his choice of clothing. To make the situation worse, he said to the cashier, “Here’s your spiritual dessert”—and handed her a tract. I almost gagged.
After the customer left, I spoke to the cashier about the incident. Not surprisingly, she remembered his rudeness far more than the words written on his shirt.
As you can see, that episode left a big impression on me. I look on it as an object lesson. How am I treating people? Am I kind, or am I sarcastic, biting, rude? What’s my demeanor while I’m being waited on? Are cashiers and salespeople glad to see me, or are they glad to see me leave? Do I reflect the love of Jesus Christ, or is something else showing?
“Love is patient, love is kind….It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.” Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, I Corinthians 13:4a., 5. (NIV)