The other day I had a bad customer service experience at a restaurant. After several offenses that made our dinner less than enjoyable, my food arrived overcooked with little apology. I felt my irritation rising, and my tone with our server became sharp. Then something happened that stopped my bad behavior in its tracks.
I glanced across the table at my husband’s t-shirt. The smiling face of Jesus, from the Bible App for kids, stared back. (This t-shirt is one of Kevin’s favorites.)
Suddenly, I felt ashamed of the unkindness I’d shown our server. An overcooked steak wasn’t worth hurting the cause of Christ. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and I’m sure we weren’t that young lady’s favorite customers of the night.
But it made me think about how differently I might act if I was always wearing that shirt. If everyone surrounding me could immediately identify that I was a Christ-follower, I would probably respond very differently in frustrating situations. Why? Because as a Christian, I’m supposed to be different.
I attended college during the late 90s. And I remember strapping on my purple WWJD bracelet each day before I went to my job as a server at a pizza place. Although many have since criticized those bracelets as a silly fad with a theologically untenable premise (Who, but the Lord Himself, can “do” what Jesus can?), I can tell you that I felt accountable to representing the Lord well when I was wearing it.
The thing is, we shouldn’t need a fish on our bumper or a bracelet on our wrists to inspire us to act differently than we would apart from Christ. Our very lives should speak of Christ. I regretted my bad behavior at that restaurant because of my husband’s t-shirt, but I should have regretted it regardless.
Here’s why: One of my main responsibilities as a Christian is to be a representative of Jesus at all times. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
That’s a pretty big deal. An ambassador is someone who is an authorized representative or messenger. When I allow something, such as poor customer service or an irritating post on social media, to provoke un-Christlike behavior in me, I miss an opportunity to represent Jesus accurately. I may even become an obstacle to someone being reconciled to God.
I may not wear a Jesus t-shirt every day — or hang out with someone who does — but I’m pretty sure my testimony would change for the better if I acted as if I did.