“I give God 10%. Why should I give you 18%?” This is what a PASTOR wrote on a credit card receipt, at a restaurant, after crossing out the added “big group” gratuity to leave zero tip. Luckily for all Christians hoping for a face-lift in Christianity, this thing went viral. (See link to article at the bottom of this post. As you will read, this was actually a hoax and wasn’t written by a Pastor or even a customer for that matter) Reading this article, however, got me thinking, “What if this was not a hoax?” Should the rest of the body of Christ freak out and lament over yet “another bad example” by a Christian leader? Maybe. Let’s just look at this thing. If this story was indeed true, and many stories as these are, this pastor did so many things contrary to the bible’s teachings.
1. He forgot about generosity. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
2. He was not kind, humble or gentle. (Colossians 3:12)
3. He did not take an opportunity to do good. (Galatians 6:10)
4. He was not loving with words OR deeds. (1 John 3:18)
5. He thought of himself as better than others. (Philippians 2:3)
So for the many stories like this that are actually true, what is my reaction? Well, for one thing, I’m disgusted. I also think of this pastor as the “bad guy,” while I’m the good guy that knows how to love as Jesus did. I immediately want to defend the body of believers from horrible acts of wickedness as these. This kind of stuff actually makes me embarrassed to be called a Christian. Occurrences such as these lead me to think of other ways of describing myself, such as a “Jesus follower,” meaning that I actually DO follow Christ, walk in His ways, and validate MY faith through my works more consistently; and for this, I can be proud that I’m not like “that other guy.”
Then, I stop to think about this:
1. I’m the “good guy?” Last time I checked, Jesus (who was GOD) had to die for me, in order that I could live.
2. I need to defend the church’s general reputation by claiming, “Nah, we really are good folks; not like this pastor. Last time I checked, Jesus had to die for all of us.
3. I’m embarrassed to be considered on the “same team” as this pastor. Why is this? Because I follow Jesus closer than him? If this is indeed the case, is it because I work harder than him? Paul said it’s actually grace that works through us. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
4. And I’m proud that I’m not like “that guy?” I’m actually supposed to stick with being proud of Christ and Him crucified (Galatians 6:14).
So, I guess if I’m completely honest, I am coming clean with a sin that is typically in MY heart. Bottom line is that there’s many Christians out there that are absolutely horrible at showing love. I tend to have WAY more patience with jerks outside the Christian faith than those that are a part of the body of believers.
I tend to forget how important it is to actually love pastors that actually do stupid stuff like this and take the time to pray for them, remembering that I am also in desperate need for others to pray against my sin. May I not forget that one of the most significant testimonies of our faith is the love we have for one another.
Can we be upset with actions such as these, especially when they go viral? Sure, but how many of us do nothing to help the poor? How many of us spend so much time entertaining ourselves with netflix and Facebook that we don’t have time to pray?
Some of us, including myself, respond “But I do give to the poor and I do pray.” Well, let’s not forget the premise of the gospel. None of us can say anything more than what Paul said: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25
It’s a good thing we have Jesus. Next time, you are confronted with a real-life, negative portrayal of a Christian that is not a hoax, perhaps you should respond, “Yeah, no lie. I’m glad Jesus died so that dude could have life.”
By goal is to maintain the attitude of the sinful tax collector. Although, I’ll surely adopt the mindset of the Pharisee that prayed before him, I hope and pray that I’ll more often take the approach of “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) And, me? I’m going to stop sweating all the bad examples out there, remember that I’m one of them, and celebrate the work that Jesus is doing in all of us.
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