Does it show?
One of the interesting realities of working the night shift is that “night people”, those who are out after midnight, are often quite different than “day people.” They are, on average, much younger. Other than shift workers from other businesses, most are out for “a good time” and they are often coming from or going to parties, bars or nightclubs. They are also largely unreached, having little or no contact with Christians; we Christians being mostly day people.
But there are exceptions. The other night two young people came into the store that were different. While they fit the demographic for age, they were teens, in manners, dress and attitude they were quite different. As they were gathering their stuff to leave I struck up a conversation. Since they were buying plastic plates, cups and utensils I asked if they were having a picnic and was told they were getting supplies for the barbeque for their church youth group the next night. They were Christians.
While I had not known that when they came in I had observed that there was something different about them. They weren’t wearing Christian tee shirts; they weren’t carrying Bibles or tracts; they weren’t singing praise songs. But I could still tell the difference.
It led me to ponder the question – does my faith show? Is there something about me and my demeanor that tells people that I am not like everyone around me? And if there is, what would that be? Much of the world thinks that we identify ourselves by the things we are against. We are the people who are against abortion, homosexuality, immorality, etc.
And, in reality, we are. But none of these things are those that cause others to want to get to know us better. I’ve never had a situation where I declare that I oppose something lead to a serious discussion as to why. So what is the door-opener? What is the thing about us that should demonstrate that we are different? It is grace.
I always marvel how, in the Gospels, Jesus seemed to be a magnet for the unsaved and lost in sin. People sought him out. The lowest of the low were almost compelled to come to him as he traveled about. Why? It wasn’t because he would “accept people as they were.” He was always ready to urge repentance and righteousness. It was his love and compassion. The despised found someone who loved them; the unclean found someone who would touch them; the hurting found someone who would heal them.
So does out faith show? It needs to be more than wearing the tee shirts, putting the bumper sticker on our cars and carrying our Bibles. Our faith shows in the gracious friendship and love we offer to those who need to know the love of Christ. Each of us moves in different circles, meeting different people in different situations. So there is no “one size fits all” answer to how we let grace show through us. But our challenge question is always the same. How can I show the gracious love of Christ to this person?