As I sat in church on Sunday and listened to the sermon, my heart and mind were going in another direction. I saw a guy in church that looked like Rex, the auto shop service advisor that I had interacted with two days earlier. My car had been in for repairs and when I went to pick it up my interaction with Rex was a bit tense. I disagreed with the bill. I had done my research and felt the charges were excessive.
I voiced my concern and made my case convincingly … and a bit curtly. In the end my bill was reduced by $150, but seeing this guy that looked like Rex in church made me think . . . What if it’s him? What will he think when he sees me playing bass in the worship band? What will he think of my testimony for the Lord?
As I reflected on my interaction with Rex I concluded that I said and did nothing that was wrong, inappropriate or that I regret, but I still didn’t feel right about it. I tried to allay my concern by recalling something I had recently read stating, “Too many of us confuse the words “nice” and “godly.” They are not the same thing.”
I agree with this. Sometimes hard things need to be said and done and they don’t feel and/or appear to be “nice” at the time. I mean c’mon, Jesus flipped tables in the temple didn’t he?
Yes, but He also died upon a cross . . . for me and Rex.
As you can see, as I sat there in church I wasn’t listening to the sermon, I was wrestling with things before God. Do I just let people run over me? Take advantage of me? Overcharge me? It’s not right!
Immediately my mind went to a quote from Wayne Dyer that I often repeat to my fifth grade students, “If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind.”
Then my mind went to Paul’s words in Romans 2:4, Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (NLT)
Nice? Right? Kind? Godly? I don’t necessarily want to be thought of as “nice” but I do want to be “godly”—more specifically—Christlike. What is $150 worth?
In Paul’s New Testament letters to the churches he says to make sure that everything you say and do is seasoned with salt so as to present Christ in a tasteful and honorific way in and through your life (Col. 4:6). Jesus is my hope, my help, my Lord and my life. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20, NIV).
God is my provider (Matt. 6:11). He is my portion (Ps. 142:5). He can pay my bills. Do I really need to fight and fuss? Where is my trust? Tyler Staton says that, “Sin is meeting the deep needs of my life by my own resources.” When it comes to my needs and immediate concerns ... do I argue, assert myself and exhibit contempt so as to communicate my position, convince my contender and manipulate a situation for my benefit?
Is the $150 discount that transpired after I voiced my concern and complaint worth the uncomfortable conflict and likely diminishment of my testimony for Christ to Rex and the others in the room? Like I said, in my interaction with Rex I did and said nothing that was wrong, inappropriate or that I regret, but I still didn’t feel right about it. So, at the end of the church service I went up to the guy and asked him if his name was Rex, unfortunately, it wasn’t him.
I’m headed back to the auto shop.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Philippians 1:27, NIV)