I went to the doctor the other day. My nose was running, my eyes were watering, I had a headache, and I was losing my voice. My doctor wasn’t available, so I visited another one suggested at the clinic. During my exam, he asked me what I did for a living. Even though I could barely talk, I said, “I work at a church.” He smiled and said, “Oh, ok. We’ll get you fixed up and feeling better so you can get back to yelling at people.”
I should have asked him what he meant by that, but he was busy writing out my prescription and I didn’t have much of a voice.
But now, upon reflection, I think, “What an indictment that is against people in the ministry.”
I didn’t tell him what church I served or what my position was, so as far as he was concerned, I could have worked Our Lady of Prompt Succor, First Baptist Church, Celebration Church, or the Holy Ghost Healing and Deliverance Center. He had no idea. All he probably knew is what he’s seeing on social media and in the news. Being a part of the medical community, he probably saw hatred come through the eyes of Christians arguing for or against masks or the vaccine. He’s probably heard the rants of hopeful YouTubers against the methods of the Asbury Revival. He’s probably seen and heard the arguments of denominations about women in ministry. He’s probably also seen the confessions of former pastors, leaders, and Christians who have left the church because of hurt and abuse. Maybe he’s listened to one to many sermons of pastors going off on other people. Maybe he grew up in a church where his pastor, Sunday school teacher, small group leader, or youth minister was simply a jerk.
Who knows, maybe he ran into me on a bad day.
Maybe he heard me griping about church stuff or saw me being ugly to restaurant wait staff.
Maybe he saw a post I made at the expense of others.
Maybe I caught him off in traffic or maybe I yelled at him when he cut me off in traffic.
I didn’t say anything that day at the doctor’s office. Maybe that was part of the problem.
Regardless, I know one thing. I’m going to try to be more loving. I’m going to try to speak life into those around me. I’m going to start lifting more people up and stop pulling so many others down. I’m going to try to remember the words of Jesus, who said “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)
I want to change this doctor’s opinion of Christians, even if I never see him again.
Won’t you join me?
*Image courtesy of Ben White