Friday, September 4, 2015

A Righteous Big Stink?

Riding a "boda," motorcycle. How I get from here to there on mainland. :)

"That is cheating!" I emphatically told the motorcycle driver.

Seeing my white "dollar" skin had prompted him to see how much he could charge me and get away with it.

What he wasn't aware of was I do know the correct price and I wasn't about to let him get away with "cheating" me. So, I began my lecture...

"If you come to America, and you don't know the price, do you want me to charge you triple?"

"Do you pray?...Then God does not honor you for cheating."

"God created us in His image and He doesn't see us differently. You can't just look at someone and say, 'Ah, that one has money, let me come close to him.'"

After he dropped me at my stop for the correct price, I learned "Paul" is a Christian. I expressed my doubts, since his actions didn't back up his profession. He may have second-guessed my faith, too, since I was being pretty tough on him.

I felt like I was championing a cause - I didn't want to be exploited, but I also hoped he would discontinue his practice with my fellow light-skinned friends.

It turns out Paul preaches the gospel, attends a church in Kampala, and was on his way to visit family. My estimation of him improved, and before we parted, he asked forgiveness.

I admit, I reacted strongly and I wish I could have shared the same message, but in a different manner. So, it got me thinking - how do I stand up for what is right, without making a big stink about it?

When the Pastor's Wife was Arrested
Or when you find yourself in a tough situation through no fault of your own - or because you did goof up? How do you respond?

Today I read blog post written by a pastor's wife. This week she was arrested for not paying a seat belt ticket (which her husband promised to pay and then forgot to) and for not appearing in court. At first she thought the arrest was amusing and went along with it, but when she was put in a cell with other scary women, her mood sobered. Thankfully after paying the fine, she was released a short time later.

The best part of the post is the comment of a police officer who witnessed the arrest. Though he too is a Christian, he never let on, as he wanted to see how the pastor and his wife would react. They passed with flying colors.

"Thank you for allowing the Light of Jesus to shine in your life. I saw it in your husband and you. I saw you face an unbelievably crazy circumstance with grace. I stopped to ask myself that night, 'I wonder if He's a pastor?' I watched and observed. I said nothing of my faith because I just wanted to see how you both would respond. And I must say, it was refreshing."

I'm not sure how I would have responded - probably not as well as this dear woman!

It's true, we need to pick our battles and discern when we are required to stand up, speak out, and shine a light on darkness. But, how do we stand for righteousness and defend God's name in an honorable way? In a way that does not ultimately damage our witness or shame our Lord?

For whom am I standing up?
I watched a video of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk, who has refused to issue marriage licenses since the June Supreme Court ruling. When a gay couple, accompanied by a crowd and video cameras, asked for a license and when refused began berating Kim, she was remarkably composed. She maintained a low, calm voice and a peaceful countenance, despite the deafening demands of the crowd.

Jesus is an even better example. The "lost" with their crooked ways, immorality, cheating, lying, self-righteousness, pride, etc., did not ruffle Jesus' feathers. He knew the crowds often pursued Him to satisfy their physical needs (like a repeat free lunch) or to see signs and miracles, or to set a trap to see Him fall (such as the repeated attempts by the religious leaders). Yet, Jesus, undeterred and focused, continued the work He was called to - to please His Father.

I believe this is what it boils down to - we are always to seek first to please our Heavenly Father. It is not about defending my "rights" or correcting a "wrong," but am I actually pointing others back to God? Am I doing it because I ultimately want to honor Him?

Will my responses cause others to see the light of Jesus in me?

Each day the lines are being more clearly drawn regarding moral issues and Christians must stand up and speak out. As we do, though, we must remember to be faithful ambassadors, speaking the truth in love.

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