“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
I was walking by that famous Ice-cream shop for the umpteenth time within a three-hour period, as I ran my errands. And each time I walked by, I gawked at how people could stand in line for hours just to get some colorful and artistically crafted piece of ice with a name that also belongs to the ‘colorful category’. Next thing I know, to the shock and amazement of my very busy self; I was standing in line howbeit restlessly so. As I looked around in guilt and foreboding for wasting precious time this way, in order to satisfy my flesh. Therefore, I figured to make myself feel better about the whole debacle I might as well memorize scripture verses while standing in line. The only problem was that my Bible was ‘mia’. So I picked up my phone to call any sinner within earshot and evangelize, but I did not have their numbers. So there and then I formulated a business idea, publish the ‘Red Blood pages for sinners’, with the red emanating from the blood of Jesus Christ. Still my time was ticking away and the queue was no better for it. Each time I wanted to step away from the line in utter disgust at such silly cravings, my feet felt like lead and would not move.
Then it happened, I overheard their conversation as I also heard the Holy Spirit say “… Be still and listen”. The two ladies behind me in the line were deep in conversation. Lady # one, asked her friend about someone we will call “Ms F’ in their work place. Lady # two said she did not like to speak to ‘Ms F’ because she (lady #2) thought she (Ms F) was weird. Lady #1 agreed but countered that ‘Ms F’ always looked good and well put together. Lady #2 agreed and went further to say that not only did she (Ms F) always look nicely put together and organized, but had great poise and mannerism without an ounce of hypocrisy. They both went ahead to agree on a story that also shed light on Ms F’s integrity and truthfulness. They finally ended the conversation by reiterating the fact that every person in their work environment knew Ms. F to be real, truthful and consistent in any situation. And had been like that for many years.
I marvelled and dutifully forgot that I was eaves-dropping as I almost fell into their arms. Miffed and miserable, I made haste to compose myself. I still had one unanswered and daunting question though. If Ms. F was ‘all that and a bag of chips’, then why did they not like her and think her weird. God had a ready answer (What a GOD!). She was a christian. The Spirit of God in her, made her ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ and her refusal to participate in debauchery, compromise and a double-life; made her weird as it pertained to them. But, this much they could not deny ( and for years had observed) she was the real deal and her God approved of her dealings!
“Let not then your good be evil spoken of:” Romans 14:15-17
I finally got my ice-cream which was good, because by now I was hot and bothered. As I ate away on that delicacy, I submitted to a Holy Spirit inventory. Humbly I came to the throne of grace with my heavy burden of sin and bag of filthy righteousness (more likely bag of tricks) that stunk to high heavens. Why should I waste more time on prideful plans and pitiful pet projects, that have nothing to do with God. As I deceive myself, and hope I have deceived every one else in my wake. God was more than willing to comply. Like the father of the prodigal, he ran to meet me. Nothing pleases Him more than the cry of a truly repentant heart; that indeed turns from evil and not just makes a show of turning.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:5-7
Someday hopefully, though the masses may think me weird. May they at least say she was sincere and consistent in her belief. Maybe like Ms. F (F stands for Faithful), God too can show me off.
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalm 51:5-7
So, tell me again: What is your story?