If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

…Don’t say anything at all.

 

Copyright Emily Sirkel

 

Or in other words, follow the example of Abraham Lincoln, who once said,

 

“I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.”

 

I think that’s really good advice.

 

Last night at my church’s Wednesday night fellowship meal and prayer gathering I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation taking place across the table.

 

Let’s just say that these gentlemen were not following Lincoln’s example.

 

It saddens and angers infuriates me when Christians speak and act like they are better than everyone else. You know what I’m talking about. Puffed up self-righteous holier-than-thous. Some are worst than others, but they’re all equally frustrating.

 

I’m a Christian, I know we’re not any better than anybody else! Nothing we have done or can do will ever make us “better.” It’s all about what God has done for us.

 

Right about the same time I was fuming over some strangers’ conversation, my husband handed me his iPad and showed me a story and picture where someone had written a note on their restaurant credit card receipt. Instead of penciling in a tip amount, they scribbled a zero, and for good measure added, “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” They signed the receipt with “Pastor” before their name.

 

I can’t even begin to express how angry that makes me.

 

It reminds me of when I worked as a waitress and when I was a barista at Barnes and Noble Café. Though I did not work Sundays, my coworkers frequently talked about how much they hated working Sunday afternoons. Why? Because the “Christian crowd” always showed up after church – demanding, rude, and stingy.

 

Now that’s shining God’s light right there.

 

Not.

 

Dear beloved non-Christians:

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the “Christians” who have looked down their nose and treated you like you’re below them. I am sorry for the “Christians” who use up their good behavior on Sunday mornings and don’t have enough to go around the rest of the week. I am sorry for every “Christian” who has failed to reflect the genuine love and grace of Jesus Christ. And I’m sorry that at times, I’ve been one of those “Christians.”

 

Dear fellow Christians:

People are watching us. People are listening to us. They see what we do or don’t do and they hear what we say or don’t say. We are Christ’s representatives. Let’s act like it.

2 Replies to “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…”

  1. Great advice. Since we work together, and I very much respect you, I ask that you remind me when I “don’t act like it.”

    Thank you.

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