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March 24, 2021

Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

Colossians 4: 5-6 The Message

How do we Christians appear to those who are outside of our faith? Do we come across as kind, tender, and thoughtful or judgmental, uptight and impatient? These are questions which we ought to consider. Like it or not, no matter where we are, we always represent Christ.

The Apostle Paul offers some wise words of advice for the Colossians, as they live in a largely non-Christian, and even pagan culture. He encourages the Christians in Colossae to think about how they are appearing to strangers, and to outsiders. In other words, he tells them,

“Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

If you were them, what would you think of your conduct?

Your demeanor? The overall impression you give to someone?”

Not long ago, Jeana and I witnessed an extremely irate customer in a store complaining about a job that had been done for her. Two salespeople were quite apologetic, but the customer just went on and on, almost yelling for about 10 minutes. When the customer finally exited the scene, Jeana watched the two salespeople retreat into the back of the store. One of them into tears. Jeana went back and said a few words of encouragement to them both. She told them that they could not have done anything at that point to make that particular customer happy. Jeana also assured them that they had done an amazing job with a difficult situation, and had remained very professional. Both of them looked at Jeana with heartfelt appreciation, and a sense of relief.

These ladies have no idea Jeana is a Christian. She did not say, “I’m a Christian, and that is not how Christians should treat people”. She just took a moment to offer uplifting words to someone who needed them. We all have the opportunity to be a ray of sunshine in someone’s life, or to be a raincloud. Some people even decide to “become the storm” and dump negativity all over other people!

God calls us to a different standard. When people watch us and listen to us, even briefly, do they see Christ reflected in who we are? Hopefully, your faith will bring out the best in other people. Christ takes joy in us as we lift other people up. We have been blessed with the knowledge of Christ’s love. Therefore, it is our job to pass on that knowledge and love to others, and not to be selective in the process. Be gracious in your speech, and especially in your actions. Make the most of every opportunity when you interact with people. You are building a foundation of love. Later, others can come along and build on it. We can be people’s antagonists, or Christ’s evangelists: the choice is ours. May we all choose wisely.

Prayer

Loving Lord,

I thank You for the person in my life who showed me the right path: how to walk with You. Help me to be that person who is a bridge, and not a barrier for others. Forgive me when I do not reflect my love for You to others. May my actions and words line up with the message You have for all of us, and keep me attentive to opportunities to share your grace and love. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.


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