I’m sure that most of you, at some time, have found yourself in public in a somewhat disheveled state.
“Nobody I know will see me,” you tell yourself. And, of course, that’s when too many people you know do, indeed see you, their first comment generally being,
“Oh my gosh! Have you been sick? You look AWFUL.”
Last week, an elderly relative who lives 30 miles away fell and hurt herself, and a significant amount of lay-nursing fell upon my shoulders. I was leaving the grocery store with an assortment of necessary stuff and things when a frail, older gentleman, sitting on a bench, said something that I didn’t quite catch.
I stopped and politely asked him to repeat himself.
“You have a beautiful face,” he said, gently smiling.
It had been two days since I washed my hair, I was wearing no make-up, and I’d slept (not much), in my clothes. Adding to that, I could recognize the strongly subtle signs of dementia in my admirer. At the best of times, I would be set aback by a total stranger telling me that I have a beautiful face, but this time — not quite the best of times — I grabbed onto that compliment and took it for the encouragement I needed right then.
Because by all conventional standards, I do not have a beautiful face — not in the sense that Hollywood and mass media push and promote, and tuck and nip, and airbrush and PhotoShop, as a beautiful face. My looks are the, “your beauty comes from within,” type thing, and I’m fine with that since I look basically like a human being, and all human beings — made in the image of God — have beautiful faces.
So what does this have to do with being a Christian misfit?
No True Home on This Earth
In Matthew 8:18-20, admirers are pressing around Jesus when a teacher of the law approaches Him and says,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.
“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'”
Following Jesus — while it is truly the only way to find peace and contentment on this contentious planet of ours — is not easy, and while many Christians try to convince themselves that they’re on the narrow road of following Jesus, a substantial number of them are on a smooth, wide highway.
The Wide “Christian” Road
Absorbed in busyness, obsessed by finding their “ministry,” satisfied with organized meetings, prone to reading the notes at the bottom of the Bible page as opposed to the verses above, fascinated by celebrity Christians who urge them to “listen to me; listen to me NOW,” they are fooled by Hollywood’s interpretation of a beautiful face. They hand out tracts in public places, and when people (understandably) tell them to blow off, they say, “Oh! I’m being persecuted for Christ!”
Or, overhearing someone using words that rhyme with cluck and sit and well, they admonish, “My Lord Jesus Christ is offended by your language and I must ask you to be respectful and stop.”
When the natural response comes, invoking the name of Christ in a less than respectful way, the admonishers declare, “Oh! I’m walking the narrow road!”
The narrow road, however, is a lonely road, and a rough one, with stones, sometimes, to lay our heads upon. People embarking upon this road frequently observe,
“The people I thought were my friends (many of them from church) . . . aren’t. I feel like I am walking alone.”
Alone with Christ
To a certain extent, my Christian misfit, you are — that’s why you’re a misfit: you don’t fit into the parameters of establishment Christianity. There is not pew upon which you can sit; no fellowship table where you can drink coffee and eat donuts.
While it’s nice to fit in, to be a part of the group, God has a tendency to call His people out — alone with Him in the desert — like Abraham, who left his homeland and his people; or Joshua and Caleb, the only two men in their generation who trusted God enough to be willing to obey Him; or Peter and John and James, who told Christ, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (Matthew 19: 27)
What then, indeed? John in Revelation 1:9 describes himself as “your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.”
He was alone, on an island, far away from song service and small group study and leadership training and visitation committees and all the busy, purposeless things that we fill our hours with instead of serious prayer, listening, and walking to lonely places where we meet only a few others.
But those few others — those fellow misfits — they have such beautiful faces.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity. Daily, I meet Christian misfits — in person, online, via the mail — and I pray for you, because the road we’re walking isn’t an easy one.
But it’s taking us to a good place. And along the way, God introduces to us truth seekers — people who don’t know Him very well but want to. Their questions make sense to us because they’re ones we’ve had ourselves, and we can accept those questions without being defensive — or offensive.
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The Misfit Christian (this is my book, written for the Misfit Christian. It’s not a bad thing to be, in the long run — I’d rather follow Christ’s words than man’s dictates)