Raising Rude Christians

“Look mom,” my son yelled while I maneuvered the minivan through a residential area on the way to the public library, “Pets welcome.”

I glanced over to a wooden sign advertising a housing co-op.

“I’m glad,” he said before I had a chance to explain what it really meant, “lost animals have a place to go.”

His eyes shone with visions of abandoned puppies and runaway cats finding shelter from the cold, cruel world.

His comment made me think of the church.

A refuge. A haven. A shelter for all kinds of strays.

Then, I remembered.

Rude Christians.

· Cutting off other drivers on the freeway.

· Complaining in the checkout line.

· Leaving a prayer card instead of a tip when dining out.

Rude Christians did their deadliest work in the church.

On Sunday mornings.

· They saved seats for fellow believers while visitors stood awkwardly at the back of the church.

· They kept their circle of friendships tight, leaving no room for anyone who needed a friend.

· They shook their heads at noisy children running through the sanctuary, never whispering a prayer for their souls.

· They pushed and shoved their way to positions of service, never looking back to see who got hurt.

Rude Christians.

I don’t think they deliberately designed themselves to be that way.

It just happened. Like watching TV.

They became what they saw other people doing.

Good news.

There is hope for change,

If we dare to let the Spirit of truth

burrow down deep into our mind and emotions,

Until we sprout.

Tiny buds.

New leaves.

Fresh growth of goodness.

Kindness. Gentleness.

Peace and faith.

Slow. Steady.

That’s how character grows.

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