I was watching a cowboy movie the other day, and I heard an interesting phrase. One old, weathered looking cowboy was asked about a new man in town. The man had the look of a cowboy. He had a hat, boots, jeans and even a drawl when he talked. The old cowboy wasn’t convinced, though. In his mind, the new guy was, “All hat and no cattle.”
As it turned out, the old cowboy was right, the new man was trying to fit in. He had adopted the mannerisms, the look, and could talk the talk. None of that made him a cowboy, though. Sure enough, he was all hat, and no cattle.
He was a poser. I see it all the time. Kids from the suburbs wearing their hats turned sideways and pants so low that it looks like they are carrying a load in their undies, (which looks dumb, don’t get me started on that), and talking like they were born and raised in the ‘hood. I want to yell at them, “Yo, yo, yo, Skippy, you’re from Iowa, not Compton, turn your hat around and pull up your pants!” They are all hat and no street cred.
I myself fall victim to it. I have four or five diver style watches. Somebody asked me the other day, “Do you dive.” Nope, I just like the way the watches look. I’m all watch and no scuba gear.
One of the complaints I hear most from non-Christians is the complaint that Christians are anything but Christ-like. They are all Bible, and no love.
The critics may have a point, Christians can be judgmental and quick to hammer other people about their sins. Jesus taught us that as Christians we should be more about love than judgment. In John 13:35 Jesus told his disciples, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” We prove to the world that Christ lives in us by the way we love each other and others.
And while Christians can be wrong sometimes, they are still the best hope that this world has. Bill Maher, Rosie O’Donnell and their ilk throw stones at Christians, likening them to terrorists, and Christians are fair game for lampooning, mockery, and downright hatred.
But that’s okay, Bill and Rosie don’t understand what Christianity is really all about. And that is our fault. Every time Christians settle for judging instead of loving, spewing rhetoric instead of listening, and clumping together instead of reaching out, we give them fuel for their fire and prove their point.
So what should Christians do? Jesus told us, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” The next time you see someone who is acting in a way that offends you, try reaching out to them in love. Look at that person the way Jesus did. Jesus didn’t talk to sinners about hell, he told them about heaven, and about God’s love. He saw and loved the sinner, and forgave the sin.
The next time you see something that you feel that you need to criticize, take a second and see that person the way Jesus sees them. He doesn’t see a horrible person, he sees someone he died for, and someone he wants to see made whole.
If we will just try to love others the way Jesus did, we won’t be “all Bible, and no love.” We’ll just be what Jesus wanted all along. We’ll be just like him.
Still wearing my diver’s watches … Jerry
Jerry Godsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his blog, The View From The Pew, at www.jerrygodsey.com