Hot As Hell

This ought to piss a whole bunch of people off:

I hang my head in shame.

Saw it among many facebook posts about Chick-fil-A. Take it in, let it simmer. I happen to live in a state where the sandwich makers and the dreamers of dreams have become heroes of the faith–taking a stand for what they believe, refusing to back down even if it means a big blow to business.

Many people have cried bigotry. I feel it’s an understandable assumption for those on the outside looking in, for reasons I shall soon undoubtedly state. Me? I’m admittedly confused. I don’t have all the answers–I just don’t. I’ve got gay friends and gay family members and I love them with all my heart. I live in a country where the idea is we should all just be able to do what we want, as long as it makes us happy. We might not all believe the same things. I’d be pretty upset if someone told me I couldn’t mention Jesus in my blog posts. I’m thankful that I have that right, because I love God and I believe the Bible is His Word.

If that makes me a bigot, well–then I am a sad, sorry sack of bigotry.

I’m just getting warmed up.

I am a Christian. A miserable, awful, morally depraved sinner who messes up on a minute-to-minute rotation. I am one can of cray. I have a bad temper and I hold grudges. Most days I don’t even try to be godly. I am a lazy, selfish, lying glutton who only recently thought enough of Jesus to stop drinking and stop neglecting my children, my marriage, and my health. I say I love people and I want to help, but only when it’s safe and convenient do I consider it–and by considering I mean just that. Consider–and then do nothing. The only difference between me and a non-believer is that I know I’m no good and that I am desperately in need of a Savior. I am disgusted with myself, and I am sure Jesus would just love to put His hands on my shoulders…

and shake the crap out of me.

Because I am constantly missing the point.

I am a Christian. And today, when I saw the 25-mile long line at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, I was even more discouraged. How many of us will “stand up for our beliefs” and sit with our cars running for over an hour, air-condition blasting, waiting for our food? Who among us will order more chicken sandwiches than needed for our already overweight bodies, or for our own children, who have never lacked for anything in their entire lives? Let’s hear it for the health-conscious stewards of the earth, reppin’ Christ by shoving food in our faces! Are we courageous when we forward an e-mail or post a copied and pasted short paragraph on Facebook? Pin a bajillion hilarious Pro-CFA pictures on Pinterest? Discuss it in length with our church friends who feel the exact same way?

Christians have a bad reputation–imagine that. We’re what’s known to the outside world as haters. Why? I’m not out there picketing funerals and bombing abortion clinics. I’m don’t go around judging and damning people to hell.

…I also don’t go around feeding the hungry, or comforting the broken-hearted, or healing the sick, or loving the unloveable. I stick to my own bubble which I have so geniusly and painstakingly created. I take no risks, and I try to blend in. My actions are just motions; my words do not scream I love Jesus, because I seldom love anybody but myself.

I passed on by Chick-fil-A today for 3 reasons: 1)I had only three bucks, 2) I hate lines with a passion (hater!), and 3) I’m on a freaking diet so smelling nuggets in the backseat would’ve just made me mad. I headed on with my kids to the library, thanful to have a car with air-condition in this 113 degree heat. As we entered the building, several people stood out to me at once. Dirty, red-faced, sweaty people, with unkempt hair and layers of clothing, carrying plastic bags full of belongings they must have been afraid to leave anywhere else but right by their sides. Hot, tired, visibly distraught; with nowhere else to go to escape the heat but the public library–and by the looks of the police officer on duty, they weren’t going to be allowed to hang out in the lobby for very long.

Here’s Mia and Merrick: “I’m hot. I’m tired. I have to go to the bathroom. Can we have a sprite? You said we could get drinks if we were good in the car on the way here.”

And here’s me, sobbing in the bathroom away from it all: “Freaking seriously you guys? We’re going to drink out of the water fountain, and I don’t care if you get Ebola because we have insurance to pay for your treatment, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

I bought 3 bottled waters from the vending machine. We approached 3 hot people as politely and respectfully as we could, and gave each of the waters away to a smiling, grateful face. My children seemed perplexed, so I tried my best to explain once we were in the car. They of course blew me off and went on to ask bigger and better questions, such as “So can we pick up drinks at the gas station then?” and “What’s Ebola?”

…..

We are haters because we do not love. May God forgive me for failing so epically. 3 dollars–it’s a measly amount. So many people do so much more; some are spiritually motivated, some are not–thank heavens for all of them and the people they help. Jesus didn’t gently suggest we serve the poor and love the unloveable–He commanded it.

And that is the kind of Christianity I’ll take a stand for any day.

Isn’t this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke? Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and you will be healed quickly. Your own righteousness will walk before you, and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.” If you remove the yoke from among you, the finger-pointing, the wicked speech; if you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness, and your gloom will be like the noon.

Isaiah 58: 6-10

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About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

3 responses to “Hot As Hell

  • Joell

    Toni, I realize we have never met in real life, but I feel like I’ve known you for a long time and when I say that I love you, girl, I really mean it.

    Your words are honest and transparent and SO SO true. Thank you for sharing your heart and for speaking to the heart of the matter: LOVE. Love one another as I have loved you, Jesus says. He loves us fully, deeply and unconditionally, in our nasty, wicked, wretchedness and if you or I had been the only ones on Earth, He would have chosen to die for us. Sin is sin to Him. We are as dead in our sin as the next lost sinner. And you are so right…the only difference is I know it and I know I need rescuing from it. How do others know that love unless we demonstrate it with our hearts and hands and feet??

    I, too, need to get my butt out there and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Oh, I am so selfish. Thanks for the kick in the rear and the love behind it. And though I did hit up my local CFA yesterday (I do love me some CFA, you know) I realize that it did not do very much for the Kingdom. Man, that scripture passage hits so hard. God forgive me and help me to love how He would love.

    From one can of cray to another, I thank you. I am sharing this post.

  • Melissa

    Toni, you are so right about all of it. I don’t care what particular sin anyone is guilty of. I know that we are all sinners. And the ONLY cure for sin is the blood of Jesus. I need to be about the business of showing people around me how much Jesus loves them. I don’t do that by eating chicken. I do that by feeding them, clothing them, visiting them in prison. And then I let Jesus take care of the sin. That’s His job.

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