Perception

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Once again, for those of you who know me, I grew up somewhat famous. Well, that is not entirely true. I grew up being known for my famous dad. You see, I am the son of a legendary teacher. Actually, two legendary teachers, but for the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on my Dad. If Dad didn’t have you in class, he had your brother, your sister, your kid, your mom, your dad, or your grandparents. I am proud of my Dad, but I also know how blessed I am to have a dad who cared. Since he cared about what I did and how I behaved, it was up to me to live up to his name as best as I could. After all, whatever I chose to do would reflect upon him. Because of this, I had a choice growing up. I could either accept the fact that everyone knew who I was and expected something different from me, or I could reject that fact and make my choices based upon me and me alone. I was a kid…I tried both.

What does that have to do with you? Well, flash forward a bunch of years. I went out of town for work. Since I was by myself most nights, I sat at the restaurant bar for dinner. One, because the food typically arrived faster, and two, I got less weird looks when eating alone. This by itself did not trigger my conscience. For years and years, I have made the statement that alcohol was not my weakness. It never has been. Yay me, right? Nah, I have lots of other weaknesses. But, since alcohol has never been my weakness, I would typically drink a beer when I went out to a niceish restaurant. This time, however, I knew, just knew, that I should not order a beer. No idea why. So, I ordered a tea and stared at the tap handles. Well, even though I knew that I shouldn’t order the beer, I finally ordered the seasonal. One that I had ordered before and enjoyed. This time, however, it tasted so bitter that I did not want to finish it. I did, only because it cost me five bucks. But, I did not enjoy it…at all.

I spent the rest of the evening and the next day at class wondering about this. Later, I am not sure when, I read the following words: Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 So, wait a minute. Not only do I have to be good and try not to sin, I have to stay away from things that appear as sin, too?! When you think about it, it is not as bad as it sounds. If I were to sit at the bar and behave as everyone else at the bar, how could I possibly stand apart from them and be the light that I am called to be? You see, I claim the title of Christian. This means that I am the adopted son of God. When I go out and do something that appears like anything other than what a Christian is expected to do, it does not reflect well on my Father. How can I invite someone to go to church with me, then turn around and gossip or swear? How can I offer to pray for someone’s addiction with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth or a beer in my hand?

I am not going to tell you that it will be easy, but if you claim the title of Christian, you are called to BE the light. You are called to be salty. In Pastor Beau’s message entitled Taste Of Heaven he says that we should enhance the flavor of whatever we do. If you go somewhere, people should be glad you were there. I am sure everyone remembers the old bracelets that read WWJD. While asking yourself what Jesus would do is a valid objective. We are not called to BE Jesus. There can be only one Jesus. We are called to FOLLOW Jesus. So, the bracelet should read WWYDIJWRIFOY? (What Would You Do If Jesus Was Right In Front Of You?). Everyone of us, believers and atheists alike, would act differently (one way or another) if Jesus was right in front of them.

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