Monday, March 19, 2012

Painfully honest

He had tattoos up and down his arm, his hair was buzzed on the sides and a six inch Mohawk spiked up from the center. He wore a wife beater and jeans (which I'm sure had holes in them) and he played the drums. I watched as he went crazy, jumping up and down as hit the cymbals. I half expected him to keel over from all the exertion.

And this was at a Christian concert.

I like to think of myself as open minded. I had come a long way from thinking that drums and guitars in church were a big no no. I went from thinking they were all a show to- God gives different people different talents and those people are using their talents to glorify God. What's wrong with that? The more I grew spiritually, the more I accepted things that were different but not sinful... or so I thought. As I watched the bands perform at winter jam last night, I couldn't help but think "Are these guys for real? Do they really believe in God and want to glorify Him or are they just putting on a show?" It was so hard not to judge them.

In between bands I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "I really wish Christian artists would try to look less like the world! They're making me stumble because I'm judging them! And don't they know the world is watching them and thinking "right, you're a Christian! You look just like me, how are you any different?"" My husband looked at me and said "You look like the rest of the world." My pride reared its head and I answered, "Well ya but in a good way. I don't look like a sinner. If I dressed in mini skirts and low cut tops people wouldn't believe I was a Christian.. or at least they'd assume we were all hypocrites!" Again he looked at me and said very kindly, "Is how they're dressed a sin? It's not the same thing as if you dressed immodestly because that is a sin."  In my heart I knew that having tattoos and looking like a punk wasn't a sin. But aren't they putting off an image that makes them look like their heart is in the wrong place? When you see someone dressed like that, don't you automatically assume they're into drinking and partying or stealing?

I watched as another band took the stage. In this band the guys had long hair and the bass player was hopping around and going crazy. He looked like he could have been playing for Aerosmith or any other secular rock band. I shook my head and the inner war in my heart raged on. "Could these people truly be Christians? Their lyrics are all pointing to God, and they were deep lyrics not fluff. But look at them up there! I just wish they'd look more like me so then I could take them more seriously!"

Again I turned to my husband and told him what I was thinking. I went off on a tangent on how people were probably questioning whether they were true believers or not. Jason said, "Ya, and I'm sure more than half of those people questioning it are Christians. If they live a life that's totally different from what their appearance is saying then the world will see the difference. It's the heart that matters. If they're not sinning by looking that way then why do we care?" Everything within me rebelled against what he was saying. I had to be right! There was no way a Christian should be dressed like that. I continued to mull this over as the concert wore on. I enjoyed the praise songs they sang and the lyrics were beautiful and soul deep. But they were still jumping around and having way too much fun in my opinion.

Suddenly an interesting thought hit me, "this is what heaven will be like... only better because we will not be questioning where that persons heart is based on how they're dressed or if they're standing still with arms raised or going wild."

I noticed my thought didn't say "because they wont be dressed this way or acting that way." It was all based on where my heart will be. I wont be questioning. Why was I questioning now? Simply because they didn't look like goody goodies? I didn't know their life style. I didn't know their story. Maybe their personality is just a rockster but instead of using that for evil they turned it into something beautiful and chose to use it to glorify God. They weren't sinning, so why am I so caught up in appearances?

Later in the evening they took an offering and had people standing at the end of each row to collect the buckets of money. The lady at my end was wearing a faded stripped t-shirt and shorts. Her hair was flat and in between wavy and straight. She wore no make up and honestly looked cheap. I looked at her and thought, "Really? You came to help out at a concert and that's how you dress? You look so trashy! You don't look like a Christian. I hope you truly find God." (Oh my word I am SO ashamed to admit to that!) The thought stunned me. Did I really just think that? Did I really just judge some one's faith simply because they weren't dressed super cute or didn't try to do their hair cuter? Did I really just assume she couldn't be a true Christian because she wasn't dressed like me? This time I didn't turn to my husband. This time I didn't admit to the thoughts running through my head. I already knew what he'd say, "what do looks have to do with it? If they're not sinning what's wrong?" But shouldn't we be trying to look our best so that people see us and think "Wow they have it all together, how do I get that?" Oh my word, how ridiculous! I seriously thought this people! Because as it says in the bible, "Dress the best you can so that others may see your faith..." um ok it doesn't say that. In fact the bible talks about dressing modestly and not focusing so much on how you look on the outside..that's it. The Bible talks WAY more about what is on the inside and where you heart is. Yes your outside should reflect what's on the inside. You attitude and actions are important. But how you dress is not important.

I wish I could say I completely changed last night. But like it is with everything this change will be slow and real. I am not a better Christian because I dress nice and clean. I am not a better Christian because I stand sweetly with my hand held up when praising God instead of jumping around and going nuts. If God had a tally board I'm sure those people would actually be doing better than me. They're not afraid to be themselves and put God on the spot light despite who they are. Thankfully God doesn't compare us and our salvation isn't based on how well you're doing compared to tattoo boy over there ;)

I've been learning a lot about myself in the last week. God has been chipping away at me and showing me sins and things in my life that I am so ashamed to admit to. But I'm glad He is showing me, and I am blessed that He is saying "Hey, you struggle with this... a lot! Lets fix that." He is setting me free from my chains and helping me to rely on Him in everything. I am so blessed!

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