Recently I needed an immediate doctor’s appointment. I finally called an office I had never been to before that said they could always get me in, which I thought was very nice of them. When I walked in it all seemed normal, but after filling out my paperwork I began to look around the waiting room. The building itself was nice, but the walls were a bit scuffed and were in need of paint. The poster boards on the wall had bent edges, and the room was haphazardly decorated. As I glanced at the floor I noticed quite a few sticky mouse trap boxes. Once seated in the exam room I noticed a large metal cabinet had been placed against the wall half-covering a very nice painting. Why not move the painting after placing the cabinet there? I thought. Then I noticed a metal cart pushed under the sink. It was covered in dust. Was this place ever cleaned?
I had not even met the doctor yet, but at that moment I decided I would not return to this office. It was okay at first glance, but looking deeper I saw things I did not like. Any single thing I noticed would not have bothered me on their own, but taken together they made me feel this doctor was not up to snuff. He may have been a very good doctor—and he seemed nice enough—but his office screamed “uninterested, disorganized and lazy.” His image was besmirched by the way he ran his office. His actions and inaction in certain ways made a difference in my view of his practice. This doctor may be good at medicine, but I did not return to him. He did not portray in his daily life what was expected and it reflected on who he was deemed to be.
As Christians, we too have an image to uphold. We are to portray Jesus Christ—and called to be children of God (Ephesians 5:1-2 Ephesians 5:1-2 1 Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.
American King James Version×). We cannot say we are Christian while not living that life. The doctor had a medical license, but the way he ran his business made him look bad. It’s not enough to just come to church and fellowship. We must walk the walk. If we “put on” the Christian for church but then walk out the door and not act the same way, we are not going to be taken seriously. God expects us to adopt His ways and actions, not only in front of other Christians but outside the church doors (Luke 11:33-36 Luke 11:33-36 33 No man, when he has lighted a candle, puts it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in you be not darkness. 36 If your whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle does give you light.
American King James Version×). The good Samaritan scenario was an example of inaction on the part of the priest and the Levite. They wore their godliness as a badge, but had no compassion or mercy for the injured man on the road (Luke 10:30-37 Luke 10:30-37 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever you spend more, when I come again, I will repay you. 36 Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do you likewise.
American King James Version×). The parable is a lesson for us to learn.
We sometimes tend to say things like, “I don’t care what people think of me!” or “I am who I am.” But the impression we give others by how we behave is important. We are told, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26 Hebrews 10:26For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,
American King James Version×). Foul language, lying (which includes fibbing), cheating, deceitfulness, mistreating others, etc. are all signs we are not living as we should. When we act like Christ we show love, caring and honor to God in all we do (consider Psalms 55:21 Psalms 55:21The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.
American King James Version×and Proverbs 26:23-25 Proverbs 26:23-25 23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. 24 He that hates dissembles with his lips, and lays up deceit within him; 25 When he speaks fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
American King James Version×).
Yes, we all make mistakes, but are we trying to correct them? If we are, those errors will begin to disappear, and we will become more and more like our Elder Brother Jesus. The doctor’s office was not horrendous, but its lack of attention to cleanliness was enough to turn me and presumably others away. Our actions can draw people to God or can drive them away from His way of life.
Our actions matter! “Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?” (Proverbs 20:11 Proverbs 20:11Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
American King James Version×, New International Version). We are taught to bear good fruit, which means we are to be good examples (Matthew 7:16 Matthew 7:16You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
American King James Version×). It can be the little things that make people look down on us, and in today’s world, people are often looking for anything they can attack. If we claim to be a Christian and do not act as one, people will use us as examples when they are condemning Christianity. We must walk the path of righteousness and leave wickedness behind (Proverbs 4:18-19 Proverbs 4:18-19 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
American King James Version×).