Do you ever feel that you are on display? Like a beautiful ancient artifact?
Like some gorgeous floral display at the local flower show?
Like an intricately chiseled ice sculpture for people to marvel and wonder at?
Like a gorgeous bridge spanning the rushing waters?
Well, I feel that way about our family in my neighborhood. The Hiesters are on display. There they are for everyone to see. To hear. To know.
Now, you may immediately think that’s a delight and a blessing. How awesome to be Jesus followers on display for all to see. That’s fabulous and all except for when the kids are yelling horrendous things at one another. Teasing because it’s fun. And talking back in not so respectful ways.
Struggling with how our actions are perceived among our neighbors. When they hear fighting or anger among us does that make them question our beliefs? Our heart’s desire is to display Jesus well for all to see.
I’ve almost begun to think of it as a curse. We’re Jesus followers. They may not be. What’s it like for them to see the ‘light of the world’ acting in this manner.
I immediately want to hang my head in shame or usher my kids in the house and threaten them with no communication between them for a month. Both sound like lovely prospects.
So does pulling them in the house and yelling my fire breathing tongue off. That may have happened once or twice.
They’ve been so loud before that I can’t even speak above the noise. They’re loud so I get louder.
I wonder what they think…these neighbors of ours? What do they think of these people they see go to church on Sunday? These people who claim they know Jesus.
I have to tell you I don’t have all the answers.
I think of the ultimatum. Change the way it is or stop going to church and professing this man named Jesus.
That second one is never going to happen. He’s changed my life. He’s been my life. My strength. My encouragement. My joy. My endurance.
So I bow my head and pray. For forgiveness, humility and a will to make a difference. And I immediately think of the song, “Need You Now” by Plumb
For the sake of space I won’t write out all the lyrics but I will share what specific part is speaking into my heart.
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
And that’s my heart cry. God help me hear above the noise.
God, give me discernment and wisdom in the noisy moments to change the outcome and the display. May how we are viewed be a true testament your goodness and mercy in our lives.
The enemy wants me to believe that we have no purpose here. He wants me to believe that how we sometimes act determines who we are. But God you have a bigger purpose.
And maybe that is that I can react to the commotion in ways of unjudgemental love, of patient affection, of loving correction.
Maybe I’m to display the calm in the storm. The peace in the fury. The hush in the chaos.
And I will not let the label of being loud and mean to establish our purpose here in our neighborhood. I will not let that label define us.
So can I hear your thoughts? What do you think about people who call themselves Christians yet they display acts that aren’t perfect? Do you have a higher standard from those people?
Do you think that’s hypocrisy? Do you think it’s acceptable? Does it help you realize that none of us are perfect?
Like I said I’m struggling with this and would love to hear what you think.