On a relatively quiet Tuesday in April, a bomb dropped that forced the whole world’s attention on one of my favorite stores: Target. Social media was all a blur (for weeks) of everyone’s opinions, outrages, parenting plights, statements of pride, and snap judgments of people all over the country.
While the world lashed out on both sides, I still managed to hold my opinions mostly to myself and a few close friends while still pushing my red buggy (more like humongo kiddy bus) around said store. Then on one unsuspecting day, my opinion was pulled out of me in the check-out line when an acquaintance from college looked up from the latest issue of People magazine and noticed me standing in line behind her. I was in the middle of talking my kids down from a candy shopping spree at the check-out and out of nowhere she turned around and shrieked in a highly snarky tone, “A Christian in Target?!?! *gasp*”
At first it took me a second to recognize who she was since it had been a good 12 years since I had last seen her. After the familiarity set in, I then smiled and said hello. At this point I had a choice to make: I could laugh off her obviously sarcastic comment (which was loud enough to be heard 4 aisles away) and start catching up on where she was in life to hopefully just glaze over the confrontation I was facing, or I could address her statement with love.
I chose the latter.
I explained to her that while I am a Christian, I also believe that God has given each of us a unique opportunity to minister to others in the ordinary parts of our day, no matter where that may be. I told her that while I don’t agree with the store’s over-reaching decision on bathroom use and privacy, I also don’t believe that I should run and hide either. You see, as Christians we were born to be set apart…to be the salt and light of the world. How are we going to to that if we retreat from the world?
After she heard my brief statement on the issue (mind you, we are still in the checkout line so I had to make it quick), she gave me a look of approval, a little “hmm”, and then ended in saying “maybe you Christians aren’t all bad.”
What a funny statement, but I get where she’s coming from.
Some Christians have made it their mission to be on the attack on every issue on every social media feed. Instead of seeing others in their sin and loving them just the same, we nit-pick every opinion and offensive word and turn what could be a ministry opportunity into a battle of the wills, which is not what God commanded us to do. Christians, believe it or not, you can (and should) have an opinion on social issues, but our overall approach HAS to change! It is not enough to “win” your argument with words! You can only truly win with love!
I could have easily shut down this unexpected confrontation with an equally snarky comment or skirted the issue all together, but instead, I shared my beliefs, and overall, shared love. I ended the conversation with an invitation to my church and my phone number for her to text me if she ever wanted to talk or go to lunch.
Christians were never meant to live in a perfect glass house on a hill throwing rocks down on whatever decision, opinion, or person who doesn’t share our views. We were meant to be out and about interacting with unbelievers. That’s what Jesus did! He went after the ones no one else wanted to deal with. He would have been the first in line to talk with a transexual, a child molester, a prostitute, or murderer.
I haven’t always thought this way. I used to be the Christian throwing rocks, but then my cute, motorcycle-riding husband stepped in and rocked my beliefs a bit. He goes out of his way to speak with the “undesirables” of society in the form of outlaw motorcycle gangs. He hangs out with them. He invests in their lives. He prays with them. He meets them where they are at and has seen many guys come to Christ because of this.
Think back to the last time you led someone to Christ (if you ever have). Was it in the middle of a Bible study? Probably not. Was it in your little circle of friends where everyone shared the same opinion as you? Nope. Was it hiding behind you computer screen or phone waiting to blast your opinion on the next curious, un-saved person? Absolutely not. How can you lead someone to Christ hiding in your little glass house, rock in hand? You can’t!
While this wasn’t a grand conversion moment in the middle of check-out lane 3, it was a chance to interact and share God’s love with a person I probably wouldn’t have run into at any other place or time. As a matter of fact, I believe that God perfectly orchestrated that moment for me to talk with her, so yes… A Christian in Target.
While this isn’t what I typically write about on my blog, I felt I should write it. This conversation has been brewing in my mind for a few days now, so I decided to just throw it out there. It is my blog, after all. While this “New Year, New Amanda” is usually about my health and fitness journey to a new me, I am also exploring new ways for God to use me (case in point). Don’t worry, I have an exciting health and fitness post coming tomorrow if this wasn’t your cup of tea. 🙂
Your friend in the fight against fat,