Friday, February 17, 2012

Testimony: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

How much do our actions affect our testimony? If what we do is inconsistent with what we say, which are others more likely to believe--our actions or our words?

Back in the day (long before the existence of Buffalo Wild Wings), Hooters was really the only place to get decent hot wings. In keeping with their 'sex sells' theme, when you wanted them without the breading (I always did) you ordered them 'naked' (the wings, not the person ordering). I used to stop there on my way to work whenever I had a mid shift. I would call in the order for 50 wings, pick them up on the way, and then split them with the person that I was working with that night.

A part of me knew that Hooters wasn't exactly the place for a Baptist deacon to be hanging out, but then again, I wasn't really hanging out there, I was just walking in, picking up my wings and leaving. No big deal, right?

At that time, there was a young couple that had been going to church at Hopedale. They hadn't been married for too long and they were going through some marital problems. One night, as I was walking out of Hooters, I saw the guy with some of his buddies having a good time watching sports and enjoying the fine cuisine. I left quickly and hoped the he hadn't seen me.

Why? Because for a guy going through marriage problems, Hooters was probably one of the last places that he needed to be. Even Chris was never thrilled about me going to Hooters but didn't make too much over it since I was just picking up food to take to work.

I didn't want for him to think that my being there was some kind of justification that it was okay for him to be there. You know, the kind of thing that might be brought up in an argument with his wife: "Even John Hill thinks it's okay to go to Hooters. I saw him there one night!"

The end of the story is that they quit coming to church and ended up getting divorced. I had tried to get a hold of the guy, but nobody seemed to know how and the number I had was no longer working. I ran into him several years later. I told him that I owed him an apology and explained about that night several years before. He assured me that he didn't know what I was talking about and that it had nothing to do with their marriage falling apart.

I guess I knew that my being at Hooters that night wasn't a part of their problem or solution. But I also realized that the things we do often speak louder than the things we say. If we are going to talk a testimony of purity and fidelity, we have to live a testimony of purity and fidelity. I haven't been in Hooters since that night. I am not saying that it is wrong for anybody else to go there, it's just not a place where I can be.

More and more I am realizing that most of the shock and criticism of seeing a preacher/pastor/deacon in a place like Hooters or with a drink comes from people already in 'the church' and the unchurched really don't think anything of it -- at all. Having said that, I'll still make Buffalo Wild Wings my place for wings and try to be as careful about the things I do as I need to be about the things I say.

John <><


Mark said...

Jesus tries to teach us to make a "right Judgment"...sorry to say we usually judge by sight....good post my friend!

Anonymous said...

Once again, very good post. It does matter where we are seen and what we are seen doing.