Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Honesty

Two weeks ago, I sat in my classroom at church surrounded by my ever expanding little group of pre-teen girls and asked them if they've ever been embarrassed of being a Christian. "Be honest and put up your hand if you've ever felt embarrassed by loving Jesus." I said. No one met my eye. All hands stayed firmly clasped in their laps...until my hand went up. Slowly other hands began rising tentatively into the air until every hand in the room was up. "Good", I smiled at them, "I'm glad you are being honest. It's okay to feel like that sometimes, especially when we know that some people are going to treat us differently, maybe even badly because of our beliefs." I then asked the girls if anyone of them could give an example of a time when they had felt embarrassed. One in particular stayed with me. The girl who shared her story is not a Christian. She is so new and so fragile in her journey to faith. As she spoke to me, she tried to make it sound light, like it was no big deal, but her voice was higher and thinner than normal and her smile was forced. "I told my teacher that I come to BG Club, and that it's at church where we learn about God, and he laughed at me." Her eyes searched mine for an answer, something to bring comfort. That was when I realized I was standing there staring back at her with my mouth hanging open - not very supportive I guess-. I simply couldn't believe that a teacher would openly mock her beliefs. Boy, they wouldn't do that if she'd been going to a Muslim group, or a Jewish group..or just about any other faith.

I quickly recovered and offered a silent prayer to God for His wisdom. He led me to share a personal story with my group. About 5 years ago, I ordered a bunch of Christian T-shirts online. I was so excited when they came. I wore them to church and at home.....but that was it. It began to dawn on me that I only wore them to placed I knew they would be acceptable. I didn't wear them to the mall, to the gym, or even when I was grocery shopping...and I certainly wasn't going to wear them to my kid's school. I told myself as I chose my clothes each morning, they'd be too hot or not the right colour or fit, but I knew in the back of my mind the real reason. I was embarrassed. I didn't was to be labeled as a 'Jesus Freak'. I didn't want people to judge me and maybe even dislike me because of my relationship with Jesus. Once I faced the true reason for avoiding wearing those shirts, I had to wear them. I wore them everywhere. It was hard at first. I felt a little self conscious, but after a while I was proud to be thought of as a 'Jesus Freak'...after all that's what I am. I even had other Christians come up to me and say, "I like your shirt!"

I could see in the faces around the table that every single girl in there knew the kind of feelings I was talking abut. "But, what happens, when we die and get up to the gates of Heaven and for one second Jesus is as embarrassed of you as you were of Him?" Silence. "Were in big trouble." someone answered. We all smiled. It was true. We would be in big trouble.

We ended our lesson with this prayer, and it has become a daily prayer for me, "Dear Lord, Help me to care more about what YOU think of me today than anyone else."

4 comments:

Belinda said...

Awesome that you were so honest and that you opened up this discussion.

I think that it's important to not be surprised or outraged by prejudice against Christianity. Jesus said that the world hated him and would hate his followers. Our response, according to Matthew 5:12 is to be glad, because this is what was done to the prophets before us, and (verse 44 same chapter) pray for those that persecute us.

Many may not agree with me but I don't want to invest in fighting for our rights. Jesus didn't. Instead I want to show his love as he did, by laying down my life for the world in whatever way he directs. This is easier to say than do.

Anonymous said...

That is so true, thanks for sharing that, and the children are so honest. Faith like a child. The Lord also said He came to devide not to bring peace. We fight not against fresh and blood but against rulers, therefore stand.Eph 6. Thank you that will be my daily prayer too. Praise his name.

Anonymous said...

Bless you for your openess and your wisdom. We all need to be given the freedom to be "Jesus Freaks" and to weather the scorn or criticism that may come as a result of our standing for Him. You are helping those girls learn that freedom, and to be proud of what they know to be the truth.

Leann said...

its easy to be a christain behind closed doors.its much harder out there in the real world.I learned some thing a long time ago.
I didnt care what people thought of me before I became a believer,so I figured if they didnt like the fact I was a believer who cares.
I was odd before I became a believer.so I figure Id rather be seen as a Jesus freak then a plain freak!!!

I got my son in law a bumper sticker.he talked the talk but was having trouble walking the walk.
so .I put this on his bumper.
"Real men love Jesus." I knew he was alittle scared to be seen at work.he didnt say it I just know him.
well a guy came up to him and said are you a christan?he had to say yes.well the guy said "me to".
I would have never guessed you were one! he said I love your bumper sticker.
its scarey when people cant tell your a believer!!
some people have said things to me.but they didnt after I got done with them.
once a man cut on my wieght.I let into him and he walked away wishing he hadnt.
he thought his friends would think he was cool.and he thought cause Iam a big woman that Id whimper away and say nothing.
well if ya dont let people know they are jurks how will they ever learn?
even Jesus didnt beat around the bush.he told it like it is.he called a woman a dog one time,and what he called the riligous leaders of the day curled their toenails.
so you see Jesus sopke the truth,in love.some times you need to get their attention before they hear.
I like that song that says."you have to stand for something,or you will fall for anything".and its so true.
people are just people,who cares what they think.its Jesus we want to hear well done from.you cant please people anyway.
wear Jesus with joy.he will do the same for you.
people respect people who have gots.and believe me in this world you have to have gots to be a believer or you will never make it.
once you made your stand with the tee shirts you won the battle.the devil lost.
Jesus didnt tell us to let any one hit us.
people think when he said to turn the other cheek we were suppose to let them hit us.
no he ment to give them the benifit of the dout.if they go to hit you walk away.
or say I let you hit me once but if you try again you will wish you hadnt.
other wise all woman who are living with a wife beater would just have to let them kill them.no Jesus never intended that.
I tell others this cause I know of a paster who made a wife stay with a man who beat her.she payed for it with her life.
now I know God never intended for that woman to stay in that home.
the first time that man beat his wife he lost the right to have her as his wife.
and that paster was dead wrong to make her stay.but its too late now.
you get away and then you pray for the person,but you dont let them beat you.if you can tell the kids you talk to so they dont end up like that .
dont know why I shared that it most be fore some reason.have a great week.God bless you.