Zipping home from the farmer’s market this morning we pause at a stoplight on the corner of a well-known street. It’s lined with the typical college town fare–restaurants, a few bars, some clubs. I notice several people with signs strapped to their backs.
Looking closer I realize the signs are telling all of us where we will go for eternity and the sins that will take us there.
Immediately my blood starts boiling. “That is such a cop out!” I yell to my startled husband. Once he recovers, he gives me the grin that says here comes the sermon.
So I rattle on for a few moments about how Jesus would be in the bars not on the street corners, truth travels best on the road of relationships, and what kind of sign I’d like to make for those particular people.
“And,” I huff, “They didn’t even spell some of their words right.” If you offend me as both a Christian and a writer all at once, boy howdy, you better watch out. (Normally I’m not such a stickler but if you’re going to threaten me then I think I deserve the courtesy of spell check.)
Finally I say, “What I think it really comes down to is this–sin has always been secondary for God. Yes, He hates it but the reason He does is because it destroys our relationship with Him, each other, and ourselves. So trying to correct sin in a way that doesn’t involve any sort of relationship just seems, well, wrong.”
There are two kinds of counseling clients I see. The first makes wild and crazy choices that eventually separate them from God and those who love them.
The second never makes any wild and crazy choices. They are terrified of doing so and try so hard to be perfect that eventually the fear separates them from God and those who love them.
Two different paths but the same end–shame and isolation. (I’ve gone down both at various times, by the way.)
So by the time I arrive at home, I’ve decided the sign-bearers must belong to the second group. And that makes me have compassion on them…a little.
But there’s still a part of me that wants to go after those signs with a chainsaw and a big red pen.
Note to the sign people: Since you’ve decided to set the world “strait” you might want to take a long, hard look at your words first. And just in case you’ve been searching for a slogan, here’s a new idea for you…We’re all just signers saved by grace.