Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Because your are a Christian........."

A friend related a story to me the other day.

She owns a building downtown that she rents out the upstairs to the local AA chapter. They had been renting the upstairs of this particular facility before she and her husband purchased the property, and they simply extended the lease. They did make a few changes, one of them, not allowing smoking anywhere on the premises.

Now when she told me this, I knew immediately that she was going to catch A LOT of flack about it. You see I have an uncle who is a recovering alcoholic, and I know that one addiction can sometimes replace another, or they just become more dependent on a present addiction. If they smoked before, they might and sometimes will smoke even more when they give up the alcohol.

My friend was approached by a member of the group telling her that the smoking ban might be a little harsh for a group of people who are already trying to break free from one addiction, to be forced to give up another.

Let’s just say the conversation didn’t go to well, and when my friend told her the smoking rule stood, the lady from AA finally pulled out the big guns when she said, “Well, I just thought, because you’re a Christian, you would understand and might make an exception?”

What does that mean? I’m not asking “What does THAT mean?” I’m simply asking “What does that mean?”

Because you’re a Christian………….

After I heard this story, the words kept going over and over in my mind.
You know when Jesus came and started telling everyone that he was the fulfillment of prophecy they had a hard time believing that he was who he said he was. Some of his behaviors, and habits just didn’t fit people’s expectations. The people had their assumptions, and ideas of what the Messiah was going to be like, and how he was going to behave. Jesus didn’t fit the bill for many of them. I’m thinking that many Christians today don’t fit the idea of what many people expect either.
I have been reading the gospels, AGAIN, and I was marveling at Jesus’ response to questions, requests, accusations, demands. I don’t think I know anyone who responds like Christ. He never seemed to give an answer that anyone expected, let alone had an argument for. He spoke the truth always. He answered some questions with a question, or a parable. He didn’t hesitate to point fingers when they needed to be pointed, and he always knew just the right thing to say at the right time.
You know the saying “What would Jesus do?” well I wonder what Jesus would have said in response to this woman’s remark, “because you’re a Christian……”.
First, I think, He would have known the intention of her heart-and maybe addressed that.
Second, He would have spoken truth to her, not necessarily what she wanted to hear; but it would have been the truth.
Third, He would have had compassion on her, and given her the opportunity to change her life. (She wouldn’t have needed cigarettes or alcohol when Jesus got through with her)
Forth and most of all, He would have loved her.
Jesus didn’t let others expectations control who he was. He knew the answers, and he gave them; always with the love and compassion or rebuke that person needed. Jesus knew why he was here, what he was doing, and where he was going.
Do you suppose anyone ever approached Jesus with the remark, “Well, because you are the Messiah……….” with their expectations showing? All the time! That is why people brought him the sick, and dying, crippled, and blind, because he was the Messiah, or at least their idea of who the Messiah was going to be; to a point. Until he quit acting all “messiah” like, and started acting like just another prophet; and allowing them to crucify him.
My son’s boss watched The Passion, and told Nic the next day, “I don’t get it!! The guy got his butt kicked!” Pretty much sums up the astonishment of people then and now. The behavior of Christians, just like that of the Christ they follow, will sometimes leave people scratching their heads, and asking themselves, “but I thought because you are a Christian?????"