I try to show everyone the love of God, I really do.  I smile, I try to lend a hand, I give compliments, I am relatively generous, and I harshly ridicule with unrelenting persistence.  Yeah, you read that right.  For many of my closest friends, our terms of endearment often include jokes, insults, and borderline abusive banter.  We show our feelings (yes, dudes have feelings) for each other by making fun of each other.  And judging by our recent conversations, I am the most loved person in the group.

I am telling you this for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I want to put to bed any rumors that I have no friends.  Erroneous, that’s what that is.  However, the more important point is that we are very aware of the way we speak to each other.  When we are on the disc golf course or playing poker….er…uh…go fish, we let each other have it. 

But we are also conscious of the fact that others may not perceive our conversations as the light-hearted rhetoric they are.  They may see our comments as mean and rude.  They may not see the love that fills those vicious words.  To them, it may seem as though we are not treating each other the way Christ intended, thus leading them to believe that our relationships with friends and even our relationships with Jesus may not be that important to us.

So what?  Should we really care what other people think?  Absolutely.  We all have things we enjoy or aspects to our relationships that are completely harmless, yet may not be completely understood from an outside perspective.  It is very tempting to say that others’ perception of you is not important and it is “their problem for judging,” but that really does not seem to be in line with the gospel.  We should be seeking, 100% of the time, to let others see Christ in us, even if that means we compromise our own comfort.

What innocent habits do you have that could be perceived as less than Christ-like?  What does that mean for how you go about your daily routine?  For my friends and I, while we still engage in casual ribbing in public, we save the extreme verbal abuse for behind closed doors.  I think that’s what Jesus would do.

Don
3/21/2012 10:43:46 pm

I count myself as one of those friends, and often judge how much I am loved by the harshness of the jokes thrown my way. I would add that social media creates more of a problem for this. If I wrote that "you write like a sissy," people will read that and will not know the love behind those words. in the real world, body language and tone of voice could possibly indicate the joking manner you refer to. Those things are missing through social media and require special sensitivity to what we write.

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