Disclaimer: Before reading this blog please realize I am a nice guy that rarely gets mad about anything. Some things bother me a little, like starbucks and gas companies raising there prices. Soon a cup of coffee and gallon of gas will be the same and I will have to decide….just kidding. Seriously though the following story really happened. If I seem to get more agitated as you read it is because it really did make me mad…so happy reading!
So the other day after church my wife and I needed food. We needed it quick and cheap, so we went to Taco Bell. This was one of those cool pizza hut/taco bell combos. So I got pizza and Rach and Ava had some tacos. We were the only ones in there at the time and as usual Ava was garnering alot of attention from the people working there. Then a lady walked in and ordered some food. The woman behind the register who had been playin’ with Ava took her order. This particular worker had two piercings. She had one in her nose and the other in her lip. She also had two visible tattoos, one on her arm and the other on the back of her neck. The woman ordering had obviously just come from church by the way she was dressed. She leaned over the counter and said something about Jesus to the girl working there. This caught my attention so I decided to drop some eaves. The conversation went like this:
Pharisee-lady: Are you a Christian
Taco bell lady: I think I go to church when I don’t have to work
Pharisee-lady: Then you need to take those piercings out and be sure not to get anymore tattoos
Taco bell lady: huh???
Pharisee-lady: Yeah, the Bible says in Leviticus that no one should mark or pierce thier body. You may even want to think about getting them removed if you are a christian
Matt in the corner: Fuming with anger
Taco bell lady: Well I got these done along time ago…
Pharisee-lady: interrrupts…you should come to our church! We go to __________church…it is great. You could come and meet other christians and read the Bible.
Taco bell lady: I like the church I go to…thanks though. (rolling eyes)
Pharisee-lady: exits taco bell thinking she has witnessed to someone
Taco bell lady says to everyone else: Did you hear that lady….I will never go to her stupid church.
So there are a few things that do make me very angry and one of them is when we misrepresent what the gospel is. When people turn a beautiful gospel of grace into a cheap and sick gospel of works. Yes, it also makes me angry when we turn it into an american dream gospel. You know the one where Jesus wants you to have everything and if you don’t you just have to claim your blessin’, thanks for that one Joel!
This poor lady at Taco Bell was so nice. I don’t know if she was a Christian, but if I was going to share with her at all about the love of Jesus pharisee lady blew it for me. Why did she not ask her about her family, her needs, if there was anything she needed prayer for. The gospel this lady presented was the same thing the pharisees were doing in the book of Acts that Paul confronted them over. See the Jews were saying that since the gospel went to them first and then to the gentiles, that any gentile coming into the faith must accept Christ and be circumcised. Paul was outraged by this in the book of Acts and made this declaration,
” Now then, why do we try to test God by putting on the necks of the diciples a yoke that niether we nor our fathers have been able to bear? NO! We believe it is through the GRACE of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. Just as they are.”
When we add anything to the gospel like…come to Jesus AND remove your piercings and tattoos, we cheapen the gospel. Not only do we do that but we place a yoke on peoples necks that we ourselves were not able to bear. The yoke is a yoke of legalistic perfection. The yoke says loving Jesus means looking a certain way and fitting into a nice little church mold.
Now I am not saying we should not stand for holiness in the church. God calls his bride to be Holy as he is Holy. So where the Bible is clear we must not waiver…in the same token we cannot expect people who do not know Christ to act like Christians. We need to stop cursing the darkness for being dark, and begin asking why the light is so dim.
The sad part in all of this is that pharisee-lady was from a prominent church in the area. Like so prominent that people who don’t even go to church know where it is. That day not only was that church represented badly, but the kingdom of God was misrepresented. So Pharisee-lady, I commit to spend my days fighting this cheap gospel of yours because it is not what Jesus had in mind when he allowed himself to be murdered for our sin on the cross.
P.S. Lev. 19 is not a prooftext against tattoos as we know them today, it is talking about pagan worship rituals.
There…I feel better!