So… the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Bruins last night.
Anyone who follows hockey knows that these playoffs were exponentially special as the Leafs have not made the playoffs in 9 years. Anyone who is Canadian knows that this game had the buzz going all over Canada. In fact there were game updates at local gyms and night schools! The season was exciting and the game was a hard hard hard loss, needless to say there were a lot of sorrow and bitter faces across Canada, specifically Toronto. I myself being one of them.
I was just so upset, maybe a little irrationally irritated but irritated all the same. So when two boys in my class decided to pick on me, out of by irritability I was rude. Then one of the boys, who was a fellow Christian, good guy, but I have never really gotten along with him, started to intensify his “teasing”. At one point I just couldn’t take it, he was being frustrating and I was just in a terrible mood and I snapped at him. I was rude, I was irritable and I was definitely unkind. He laughed it off and continued to bother me. Boys.
But through the day I thought OK I was irrational and exceedingly rude. Maybe I should apologize. So I made my way to him and… apologized. At first he continued to joke around and then he went for the blow. He said how I could call myself a Christian and then be so rude as if it were nothing. OUCH. After such a blow to my ego he said I was forgiven- words that seemed bitterly pretentious at the time.
Immediately I put my guards up, made my way out of the conversation ASAP and of course my mind started buzzing. How dare he?! Would he really judge my sincerity of faith with one screw up? It wasn’t even that bad to completely belittle me and my love for God! It’s not like he is any better! Who does he think he is? Maybe he should get off his moral high horse… and the grumbling continued.
And about a few hours I realized… he was right. Even if he was using the moment to shame me, does his purity or impurity of intent change the truthfulness of his statement? NO.
And seriously, how could I call myself a Christian when I could be so rude just because I had a bad day, and the Leaf’s lost? Yes, I know, I know. We are saved by grace- but not cheap grace! And when I take these “little sins” and deem them insignificant I cheapen the profound grace God extends to us. I ought not to dabble in sin- God calls us to a higher standard of living! And with that it is imperative that He calls me to a higher standard of living… and you.
And I started thinking, what if my actions had faltered someones faith or turned someone off from God? Thankfully it didn’t. But what if they did. Then what? I would be working against my Lord…. all because I wanted the Leafs to win! The absurdity of my sin is just striking, and it leaves me with little legitimate justification for it.
These little sins, that I slide under the rug at times really do show a clear window to the state of my heart. And in these little “slip-ups” I fail to show people the love of Christ. Whatever the “context” of my mood may be, I fail at loving them. How terrible is that! And think of people in your church, those “harsh”, “unkind” Christians- come on, you know they are there! What legacy do you think they leave? Sure, we as Christians can make profound change, but if love is not part of our everyday language can we say our love is legitimate for “big events”? Most of us may only have one or two “big events” a year to love on others. This suddenly makes the little everyday moments seem more precious, does it not?
And today I just can’t help but think about how I stumble because I fail to recognize and love the person I’m talking too. Maybe its time, for us North American Christians to take a deep breath and live the gospel in a cold-business like world. To show love in all the small ways and not just in grand gestures. To be consistent and humble servants like our Lord intended. Sure, our world and Jesus’ world has major differences, but the principles remain the same. And who knows, in a world where people barely stop to hold the door maybe the small gestures will scream louder than we think.
And that is my goal now. To let the love and grace of God to seep deeper and deeper into my conduct that I may not fail Him. And hopefully, with my conduct others may realize that there is something special in the name of Jesus- and even if that does not happen at least my act of worship will give glory to my Father in Heaven. Because that’s what it’s all about. Loving God and Loving my neighbor. God, please help me do just that.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14