How I do things
I still have so much to learn. I realise more and more that I don’t always behave in the right way. Sometimes people look at me and probably wonder whether it is really worth being a child of God.
I bought a pair of earphones from a Pakistani in the Mall. One earphone is dead and I returned it. I wanted my money back, but he didn’t want to give it to me. I asked him whether he was familiar with the Consumer Act, which states that if a consumer returned a product within six months, he was obliged to give me my money back. Then he said there was no such act, which set my blood boiling and I started saying things. Eventually, I stormed out of his shop with R50 in my pocket.
I cooled off in the car. When I started breathing easily again, I heard a small voice in my head asking: What would others have thought of my behaviour as a Christian? I was not amused by this question. It wasn’t the right time.
The next day I was standing next to a rugby field at an English school somewhere in the southern suburbs. Again it’s that rather old ref handling the game. He’s nice, but obviously half blind to one side. When he blew a forward pass for a third time, which according to the guys next to the field was far from correct, I made a remark that could’ve remained unsaid.
I got into the car feeling uncomfortable. Later I phoned the woman who was standing next to me at the field and apologised, because my conduct did not reflect my Christianity, whether my remark was justified or not. It was not right to be negative.
We don’t always realise what our actions reveal. People from all sides look at us as Christians. Not always to catch us out, but to seek guidance. They don’t always know how to act in certain circumstances and then look to see what we would have done. When we act foolishly, we put people off and break down God’s kingdom bit by bit.
I wonder how many people have I have put off and thus prevented them from following in Jesus’ footsteps. Not a very nice thought. Paul’s next statement is very important: 12 But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ.
Once again I realise what a big responsibility I have as a Christian. I must realise that the way I act has an enormous impact on the lives of others. And that is why it is so important to be sensitive to how others see our faith. In this section Paul says that food does not affect your relationship with God, but if some Christians believe that eating certain foods may affect their relationship with God, don’t eat it when you are with them. If you eat that food, they may also want to eat that food, which they initially thought was not right, and this will cause them to sin. The result: 11 Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference?
We must realise that we are an example to others and that other people notice our way of life. People watch us to see whether it is worth the trouble taking the road to God. The question is: Do I push people away or do I encourage people when I return things that aren’t working? And when I stand next to the field reacting to real life, would the people want to stand with me or rather turn around and walk away?
How is you behaviour seen by others?
Will they follow Jesus because of how you behave?
Or would they rather not?
Father, I fall, I’m guilty, and I have to acknowledge how immature I am. At times the own self takes control. My behaviour doesn’t always tell a good story. I shudder when I think what people must have done because I didn’t act correctly. Forgive me where I’ve been wrong and please help me to concentrate on my behaviour so that I can act according to Your will. Amen