This weekend I was at a friend’s house for a graduation party. Being a 90+ degree day, everybody was rather hot, and so the party inevitably took a turn into becoming a water fight. And as is our custom, we went a bit over the top.
It started with water balloons being tossed and a bunch of us as we were playing basketball. This turned into buckets of water being filled (not just small buckets, but buckets of all sizes). And it was only a matter of time before the hose was brought. And then it became a mind game as to who was on who’s side, with various alliances being made in order to “get” another person. What started out a simply toss of a water balloon turned into an all out war, with people being tackled and thrown all throughout the area.
The climax of the event occurred when there was a desire among a few to “get” someone who was sitting inside of the house, but had made an hit on someone outside. So the ammunition was being loaded, and the only issue was grabbing the target and bringing him outside. There were some mixed alliances here, and when the first attack came to pull the guy out, there was an unexpected help in keeping him inside. After a bit of a wrestle indoors, there was a stand-off, which turned into a 3 vs 8 matchup. Obviously, I was the 3rd member in the 3, because my boy was the unexpected help, and I couldn’t turn my back on him. With a rare turn of events, the crew of 8 took a plunge at my boy to drag him outside and “get” him, so I jumped in to keep him in the house. During the struggle, the original target came in to try to help, but not knowing who was with who, took a yank at me and ripped a huge hole in my shirt. After a bit more of a scuffle, the parties separated again, and we were all licking our wounds.
It got me thinking, why did I get attacked by the person who was on my team? The one I attempted to protect in the first attack, he turned on me. We were both trying to save the same person, yet in our attempts I turned out to be just another target for him. And then it hit me.
To him, I was no different than anyone else. In the massive struggle going on, he was not able to decipher who was on what side. There was nothing that distinguished me from everyone else. We all were just tugging and pulling on this one guy, and so his instinct was to simply pull off anyone who looked as if they were endagering his compadre. If I acted differently, such as trying to reason or made it somehow more clearly that I was trying to save him, I would not have gotten a ripped shirt.
There’s a much bigger battle going on in the world…a battle of good versus evil. And I wonder from an outsiders perspective, can they tell which side I’m fighting on? I know that I’ve got the Lord on my side, and I know that my desire is to fight for my God and for good in every and all circumstances. But when others see me, what is it that they are seeing? When they see the battle, do I look any different than anyone else? Can they tell that I am for Christ and not against Him? And even if they “know” that I’m fighting with Christ on my side, do they see a difference in the way that I fight that battle as opposed to the others who don’t have Christ?
As Christians, we’ve been called to be different. We’ve been called to be set apart, go against the grain, turn the other cheek. When the world raises fists for conflicts, we are to be stretching out hands to help others up. Regardless of what you are fighting for in your heart, those on the outside might not see your motive…and a raised fist is a raised fist. We need to recognize that our image is always on the line, and we are called to be reflections of Christ. When others see us, they need to think, “Those people are different” and recognize that it’s because of Christ. What purpose do they see in turning to Christ if we look so similar to everyone else? If it wasn’t for Christians misrepresenting Christ by our lifestyles, there would be so many more believers in the world. I’m tired of being a hindrance to the gospel message. I want people to be able to recognize that I am truly different. For the glory of God.