Recently, I was visiting spiritual family in Seattle, Washington. Roy and Julie Wells are two of my favorite people in the world, so it is always a good time. As a special treat, they drove me to Canada to hang out one day. Because I am having knee problems, we couldn’t do as much as we would like, but we did stop to see a few sites. As we were preparing to return home, we stopped at one of the popular parks in Vancouver and took photos. While there, I noticed a gift shop and thought it a perfect opportunity to get souvenirs.
Julie and I went into the shop to look around. I had only one hand free since I was holding a cane in the other. My goddaughter loves snow globes from wherever I travel so I headed to that section. Julie came over to show me a box of smoked salmon. When we both turned around, Julie nearly knocked over an employee of the shop. This woman was apparently following me. I was immediately angry and hurt. I am accustomed to being profiled in America. I was once profiled in Uganda (by an Indian shop keeper). But Canadians are nice aren’t they or do they engage in the stereotypes promoted about different races also? Now Julie’s reaction was funny. I saw her walk right up to the lady and say something, but I didn’t know what she’d said until we were back in the car. As she relayed what happened to her husband, she said she told the woman, “That is a woman of God and a Minister of the Gospel.” I think the woman was so shocked to be called out that she immediately retreated behind the payment counter. Oh her retreat didn’t last long. A man of color walked in holding a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket. She immediately set off behind him.
As I reflect on the incident, I begin to think about us as Christians. Julie declared to her a statement of my identity, a Christian, as if it would convey my integrity and trustworthiness. Wow! What if we were profiled by someone who doesn’t know what it means to be a Christian? If they simply formed a “type” for Christians based on what they have heard, seen and read about Christians, what would they include? Of course, there are some buzz words out there like judgmental, homophobic, hypocrites, self-righteous and even poor tippers (Allegedly one pastor left a waitress a tip with a note that said I give God 10% why should I give you more? The waitress posted the note on social media and it was picked up by a national media outlet with an article entitled “When Christians are Christianity’s worse enemy.”)
Christians aren’t perfect people. We are continually being made into Christ-likeness. We are purposed and designed to be lights in this world. My prayer is that the world will see Jesus through us as we live out His word in our daily lives. Let them see His love through us. You know His love that is patient and kind. The kind of love that is happy when you prosper and is not jealous or envious. Allow them to experience His love that blesses and edifies others, instead of insulting and cursing them. God’s love lived through us is empathetic as well as forgiving. This love will defer and prefer others as it expresses itself in truth. God’s amazing love is durable, never failing to hit its mark. Let them see God’s love through us as it believes and endeavors to bring out the very best in all. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
No matter what we do, there will always be those who hate and condemn Christians because of our beliefs. Let’s try to make that the only thing they can legitimately criticize. We are human and make mistakes. As we live the complete Gospel of the Kingdom, let them see us admit our wrongs, confess our sins and forgive others quickly. When someone defends you by saying, “This person is a Christian,” make sure it really means something.
I would love to say to any and all, “Go ahead and profile us Christians,” but I can’t. I can say, “Go ahead and profile me.”