In the book, Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy, by Marie Chapian , an evangelist named Jakob Kovac regularly travels miles on foot to meet with a man named Cimmerman who seems to have little interest in God. In fact, this man points out the terrible atrocities committed by individuals in the name of God. The evangelist did not argue with him. Instead he presents him with this scenario. What if someone stole Cimmerman's coat, pretended he was Cimmerman and committed criminal acts? Was he, the real Cimmerman, guilty?
Of course not! The criminal was someone else, not him!
But, what if there were witnesses who came before the judge and said, "But it was Cimmerman. We recognized his coat."
The man fell silent as he realized that just because someone "looks" or "sounds" like the real thing, doesn't mean they are. He decided to watch this Jakob Kovac and see if his actions lined up with the actions of the Christ whom he preached. The day came when Cimmerman told the evangelist that he wore the coat of Christ well and a new Christian was born.
Colossians 3:17 says:
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
These are very sobering words. Are we, or better yet, am I doing this? If we as Christians would consciously seek to do this, if our thoughts, words and actions correctly represent the Lord Jesus Christ, how would that impact our world?
Would everyone react as Cimmerman did? Perhaps not but they would have had the opportunity to have at least seen a true representation of Christ rather than a false image.
After writing those words, I found myself recalling a painful incident that occurred almost 25 years ago. A person who had visited our church several times and sat in a Sunday school class I had taught, witnessed me publicly losing my temper. All I could do was admit I was wrong and apologize but needless to say, I never saw her again and to this very day, I cringe at the memory.
It would be easy to justify my actions and say I am not perfect but no, we must not excuse wrong behavior, particularly our own. I was wrong and I brought shame to the name of Jesus Christ. I could only repent, seek forgiveness, ask God to fix my mistake and try to learn my lesson. I'd like to say I never had to learn that lesson again but all I can say is that with time, I am learning it better.
May we learn to live as true representatives of Jesus Christ.
Scripture quotation taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved.