In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
When the gentleman approached our table, leaned over and said, “I don’t mean to appear as rude or anything”, I thought, “Uh-oh…what did we do wrong? What did we say?”
My girls and I were sitting in a restaurant celebrating my graduation the day before and my birthday, which was the following day. We were having a blissful time, great conversation, and were really enjoying one another. Frankly, it was as though we were in our own little bubble even though there were people all around us.
The man, who was sitting (with his wife) caddy corner from where we were, had taken notice of us.
I was taken aback when he proceeded to tell us why he came over.
He continued by saying, “I have been watching you ladies, and I can tell you are full of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t help but listen to your conversation and how intelligently you speak. How you interact and communicate with one another. And I am impressed by you all.”
Whoa! No…Wow! That went in a totally different direction than I thought it would when he pre-apologized for possibly seeming to be rude.
Now that moment certainly warmed my heart…
- as a mom
- as a woman
- as a citizen
- as a patron
- as a person
- as a Christian
- as a Child of the King.
Oftentimes I have witnessed others behave unseemly in a public place. There have been a time or two or three that I was not the best patron either. Whew! I got it right this time…we got it right. Truthfully, this experience should be more frequent than not.
Actually, the opposite of what this gentleman witnessed should never be said of us by others.
So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. Romans 14:16 (ESV)
Whether in a public place or in the comforts of our home, we should always aim to display the true character of God, such that He can always be glorified and praised. That light within us should illuminate in a way that those around us cannot help but recognize this Christ that we profess is alive, active, and is living on the inside of us.
In some cases…the Jesus within us is the only One some will ever come into contact with. And we have the ability to make Him known by:
- Being conscious of what we do.
In our dinner case, it is not that we rehearsed how to go out and behave in public places. I can remember a conversation with one daughter the week before about a previous restaurant experience where I corrected her about something I deemed as inappropriate to be discussing so loudly in a public place. Though this had taken place quite some time ago, she was having hard time with it. I am not so sure she was in full agreement by the end of our conversation that day. But I think this compliment we had received caused her to mentally and spiritually revisit that occurrence…as she, too, was blessed that someone could see such a light within us.
- Being conscious of what we say.
If what we are speaking is not life-giving and uplifting, we probably should not be speaking it anyway, especially in a public place, which could possibly cause others to be offended by us. We should always be calculated with our speech, as there may not be an opportunity to retract what we say. And sometimes there will not be an opportunity to explain or put our words into context. As such, we should be intentional about what we have to say. And even in those times we do not have time to think things through…if our hearts are in the right place, only goodness will flow from it anyway.
This moment for my girls and me was such an encouragement to us and taught us the importance of both of these points.
Now I will end by telling how this dinner time concluded. As if we were not blessed enough, God sent more affirmation and love our way…my way!
As the gentleman and his wife got up to leave, he stopped by again. He looked me directly in the eyes and said, “If I were a newspaper reporter, I would want to do a story and name you…Mother of the Year! You have done an amazing job with your girls. Keep the faith…”
Ah Sir…feel free to be your kinda “rude” at my expense…anytime!
Lord, may I always be intentional about displaying Your true character everywhere I go. In Jesus’ Name.
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