So here’s something I’ve been struggling with: if my life is supposed to be a witness of my faith, I’m failing miserably.
There’s one scene that keeps coming to my mind when I consider my own Christianity: I was talking on my cell phone leaving a message for someone, driving in a parking lot. All of a sudden, I realized I was shouting at another driver who had cut me off, swearing like a sailor and of course, the entire incident was recorded on the other person’s voicemail. I have no idea how long I had been spouting off (it was probably just seconds) but I have a filthy mouth and now the other person knows it. Bless his heart, he claimed later that he never listened to the message. But of course he did, and he knows that I’m a Christian. What flavor do you suppose that leaves him with?
So human, so imperfect. I’ve been telling myself that what I’m supposed to do with this is live so that from now on this person sees the “good” side of me and not just my temper. It’s just that those flaws always appear so large, and I fear that when he thinks of me, he remembers the woman who was frothing at the mouth at another driver in the parking lot. That was one incident out of hundreds of interactions we’ve had, but I’m sure it’s the one that has left the deepest impression. What should my response be now when faced with this individual? Do I say, “Man, I blew it! I’m a Christian but I lost my temper and really flipped my lid. But it doesn’t mean that my faith is not real, it just means that I’m human and have a looong way to go on my walk.” Or do I just keep walking?
Now when I see someone stumble in their Christian walk, I’m a little more forgiving than I was when I first “got religion” and infinitely more forgiving than before I understood what Christianity is. Being saved does not mean we are suddenly perfected, after all. It just means that we will be perfected, one fine day in the blink of an eye. It would be so lovely if we never again displayed our imperfections, but as long as we’re in this world, they’ll be on display in one way or another, I guess.
I think the correct thing to do in this instance is just keep walking unless he opens the door at some point. Just need to make sure that as I walk, I’m walking in the right direction and not peppering the air with obscenities along the way.
Understand, please, I’m not self-flagellating here. I know I’m not supposed to be perfect, but jeez, I thought I was in the process of winning the war against my dirty mouth. I suspect that the rage I felt at that moment is a greater sin than the words I spoke but I really thought I was getting a handle on that, too. The best I can do with this is move forward and remember to be kind when I see someone else making the same mistake. And perhaps to stay off the phone when I’m driving.