Blending In or Standing Out

01hunter-girl-buck-wear-realtree-pink-shirt-3I’m not sure how they have been success in doing it, but many retailers have convinced the consumer to pay high dollar$ to purchase their goods and then become a walking billboard advertising their wares.  The clothing  companies are a good example:

  • Under Armour: Earn Your Armour
  • Nike: Just Do it
  • Reebok: Because Life Is Not A Spectator Sport

On a recent trip, I noticed the many different messages emblazoned on the clothing of people as they walked past me: I noticed their behavior as well.

When I thought of the contrast between their messages and they were actions, I was reminded that Jesus said we are known by the fruit we bear.  He also said: “Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).”

Some of these walking billboards were advertising their faith.  Sadly, many of them were in violation of the truth in advertising laws.  Their shirts made bold statements declaring their allegiance to Christ; however, their words compromised the integrity of the message.

The incongruity between their walk and their talk, reminds me of James homily on the tongue:

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? ~James 3

One of the reasons people are so conflicted today is they’re more concerned with their reputation than they’re their character.  You may coast through life with a good reputation; however, character flaws made of sand eventually crumble like a weak foundation in a massive earthquake.

Ignition Contrition

A spilled salt shakerIn an act of public contrition General Motors has fired 15 employees and reprimanded 5 others following a cover-up regarding a faulty ignition switch. This glitch in technology has been linked to several accidents and deaths, and it has prompted an apology from GM’s Chief Executive, Mary Barra.

Ms. Barra described the behavior of GM as a “pattern of incompetence and neglect.” She also said: “We will accept responsibility for our mistakes, and we will do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again (WSJ Online).”

What is a pattern? It is the customary manner in which a business or organization operates or the behavior that defines a person.

In Paul’s letter to Titus he writes about a pattern or example that is to be followed. As you read it, notice what Paul says about a person’s individual responsibilities and the character traits he emphasizes: “Encourage younger men likewise to be self-controlled, showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us (Titus 2:6-8).”

Where is the self-control, integrity, and dignity today? They seem to have been replaced with crude conduct, a vocabulary of four letter words, and an anarchistic attitude.

In Colossians 5:6, Paul said, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt (wisdom).” Is grace and salt (wisdom) a pattern of your life or have you forgotten the grace and become too salty in your speech?