If you know my story at all, you’ll know that I often call college my “dark years.” The short version is that during that time period I tried to live a double life – satisfying my worldly desires to be a party girl, while still pouring into my relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, during those years a little more effort was put into the party mode. I did some things that I’m not proud of, and most of them have to do with words that I used.
I can be one sassy girl. Pretty sure that’s what got me in trouble with my parents from time to time; I wasn’t a rebel, but I could pour on attitude like it was my job. Add that together with alcohol and a drunk frat boy that is ruffling my feathers and you get a mean, confrontational Mindy. One such episode, built on an already growing distaste for one another, resulted in many choice words flung back and forth at each other, and then… I got up right in his face, and I slapped him. Instantly, even amidst the anger I felt towards this dude, I knew I went too far. And then he said these words, “And you call yourself a Christian?” Talk about a buzz kill. I was speechless. I had no more mean words, no more sassiness to throw his way because he was right.
Walking away with rocks in my gut, I began to process the challenge the Lord had given to me through this frat boy. Here I was, calling myself a Christian, leading my campus ministry and then in the same heartbeat I was all full of cuss words and slapping people upside the face. About a week later, I knew I had to reach out to this guy. Scraping up all the courage I could find, I got his number and made one of the most humbling phone calls and told him, he was right. I apologized and admitted that I had been such a bad representation of the Lord that I believe in. And I thanked him for calling me out on it.
The reason I thought of this shining moment was, in my bible study this week we were challenged to think about this question – look at your life and your ministry involvement. Do “the words being said and the deeds being done” point to the presence and influence of God’s kingdom?
It’s like the message we’ve all probably heard at some point, “If you’re going to talk the talk, then you better walk the walk.” But what actually got me thinking was re-phrasing it like this - are we talking the walk? Are the words that come out of our mouths evidence that we love Jesus? Is it clear that we spent time reading the Bible today? Or does the attitude we used with our loved ones and the gossip that shot out of our mouths with our girls over vino make us want to puke?
I will never forget that moment when the frat boy's challenging words made me realize there was no evidence in my talk that I was walking with Jesus. I am so thankful that this guy had the balls to say to me what I really needed to hear. And I'm thankful that many years later, the Lord has redeemed our crazy relationship and I can actually call him a friend.
As followers of Christ, we are called to live lives worthy of our calling - we are called to be physical representations of Jesus in everything we do and in everything we say. Let's be real, that is hard. But, we don't have to do it alone, praise God. He created us to need each other, and He calls us to be active participants in supporting each other and speaking the truth in love as we do our best to represent Him.
So, if you hear me being a turd, call me out on it (lovingly please!). And if you want me to, I’ll do the same for you. Let's work together and be evidence of Jesus in our walk and our talk.