“Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” – probably not Francis of Assisi
I loved this quote when I was a young Christian. In fact, I think this quote caused me to be even bigger jerk than I normally would have been as a young Christian.
Here’s the deal: young Christians are jerks. This is scientific fact. Remember when you first came to Christ? And how jerky it made you? If you just recently became a Christian you’re probably a jerk right now.
The reason young Christians are jerks is because they think they have it all figured out. Especially teenagers. They go on a weekend retreat and they have an awesome experience and they come home thinking they’re Bible scholars ready to win converts to the faith. I’ve seen it time and time again.
I was no different.
In fact, my jerkyness was amplified by the possibly-misappropriated-Francis-of-Assisi quote above. You see, I used this quote to justify wearing all manner of Christian clothing and accessories. After all, that wasn’t preaching with words. It was preaching with clothing, if that is even a thing. Furthermore, I assumed that any Christian who didn’t dress like me was probably not as Christian as me.
I had all the Christian-parody-ripoff t-shirts (A Bread Crumb and Fish, anyone?), I wore THREE WWJD bracelets (in case the first one didn’t land then one of the other two might connect), and I had one of those necklaces with the colored beads that represented all the different symbols of the Christian faith. I even had these little plates on my shoelaces that said “Jesus Freak!”
Thinking about all this makes me roll my eyes. I was a billboard for Jesus, but my attitude was that of a judgmental jerk.
These days I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve. I’m proud of my God and my faith, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast it. Especially with my wardrobe.
How do you prefer to preach the Gospel?