Friday, September 6, 2013

The Color Red

It's time for another dog story.  Yep, I'm full of interesting animal observations, thanks to my morning walk.  This latest observation occurred earlier this summer.  Are you ready?  Drum roll please... dogs don't like the color red.  I know... it's crazy!  And I have to admit, it's not scientifically proven.  This is just based on my personal experience.  So if you find articles that prove me wrong, consider this my disclaimer. 

Here's how I discovered that dogs have an aversion to red.  I have lots of red workout clothes... shirts, shorts, you name it.  And I am NOT a fashionista in the mornings.  I grab whatever is available and I'm out the door.  Matching is not on my mind that early.  So a few mornings in a row, I wore a red shirt.  And the dogs (who were either leashed or behind a fence, for which I am eternally grateful!!) went nuts!  They barked and growled at me.  The moment that sealed the deal was when a dog literally stopped and was standing in attack mode while his owner was walking him across the street from me.  The man even commented about how the dog responded to my presence.  I just shared my perspective... dogs don't like red.  And he agreed.

What things turn you off?  Is it a color?  Type of music?  Personality style?  Movie?  Food?  There are many things in our lives that make us want to bark, so to speak.  Have you ever heard why people aren't a fan of Christianity?  The answer is often Christians are hypocrites.  Our hypocrisy can be like the color red to a dog... making them want to either attack us or run away from the One who can save their souls. 

Hypocrite is defined as:

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings  
Ouch!  Guess what?  This describe me.  And quite frankly, I bet it describes you too.  Wanna know why?  Because we're all sinners.  I love Jesus and I desire to live a life that honors Him.  But I mess up... daily, hourly, by the minute.  I know I should be gentle, and I want to be gentle, but in the heat of the moment, harshness can spill out of my mouth.   So what's a gal to do?  Repent.  Confess that I messed up and I know that's not how God wants me to act.  And start praying scriptures about gentleness, asking God to help me become more gentle.  Here's some to get you started if you struggle with gentleness too:

Proverbs 15:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)

A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.

 2 Timothy 2:25 Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it],

Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
I wonder if part of the reason people see Christians as hypocrites is because we judge?  Or act like we are better than others?  Or say one thing, and then do just the opposite?  Or choose not to forgive?  Or...?
I wonder how the hypocrisy perception would change if we just came clean and let others know that we are a mess.  What if we were vulnerable and shared that we sin too?  What if we admit that we can't measure up... and that's exactly why we need Jesus?  What would happen if we explained that God doesn't expect perfection because Jesus was perfect on our behalf?  Would they look at God differently if we shared that God's love is truly unconditional?  That He loves us all the time... whether we do the right thing or mess up big time, God's love doesn't change at all.  What if we let others know how much we need Jesus as our Savior.. and how they need Jesus too?  Would our vulnerability open the door to a deeper discussion about how to invite Jesus into their hearts?  Would our color change from red to a more pleasant yellow?  Would the term hypocrisy be replaced with the word authentic? 
Are you willing to give it a try?  Be vulnerable?  Can you let go of your desire to "appear" like you have it all together, when in fact, it feels like everything is falling apart?  Is it worth the risk?  Can you trust God enough to see how He can use your mess for good?  Because that's one of His promises:
Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
What is God asking you to do right now?  Take action.  Trust Him with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5-6).  And invite Him to do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) as you follow His lead.  Who knows how He can use your authenticity to lead others to Him? 
And if you're looking for more information on the subject of hypocrisy, check out the link below from my pastor's blog.  You don't want to miss his "Dust if you must" illustration.  You won't look at cleaning the same way again...

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