Proverbs 15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.”
Post by Suzanne Roxanne Fortner
I will never forget the best compliment I ever received. The compliment came from a woman named Donna and she walked up to me one day and said, “You’re a Christian aren’t you? I was thinking about it and I realized that you had to be. It’s the way you act and treat people that gave it away.”
To this day Donna’s words still warm my heart and encourage me. Donna’s words remind me that everywhere I go I show people what a follower of Christ looks like whether I am doing a good job or not.
When Donna approached me I was in one of my last semesters in law school and I was exhausted. Most people in law school are tired unless they are super human. As usual and in keeping with my personality though, I was enthusiastic about school and my peers. A little exhaustion never faded my spirit. So there I was enjoying another semester except I was starting to wonder if my days had any purpose. I knew I had the end goal of graduating but I felt like every day was blending together. I was in need of either a break or inspiration. Law school was turning into a mundane task and that’s not how I prefer to live.
Early on in law school I realized how heavy of a burden law school was going to be, so I knew I would have to be aggressive about my walk with the Lord. I knew I needed to put Jesus first no matter how busy I got. And that was the best decision I made in those three years. Donna was proof of that.
You see, Donna’s words made me feel like every day in school had been worth it. I still had a long way to go but Donna reminded me why I was there in the first place. I was there to be a light for Jesus. Sure, one day I would be an attorney but that was never really the ultimate goal of my life. My goal will always be to shine for the Lord and bring Him glory exactly where I am. I was reminded of this valuable truth as I realized that no matter where we are, the people around us need to hear and see the light of the gospel in our lives. And Donna’s words reminded me to stay alert of this fact.
The truth is, the gospel is the best thing that has ever happened to this world. Jesus dying for us all is the reason anyone has hope. And that hope should be shared. If you really believe in Jesus and the message of the Bible, then wouldn’t you agree that our hope is something we should be sharing in whatever way we can? When I think about the reputation a lot of Christians have my heart breaks because sharing hope can only be done when our actions and words standout.
A lot of the time Christians are viewed as critical and negative when there is already enough hate, harshness and pain in the world. Why would we add to that when the very message of Jesus is kindness? What in the history of the world has ever been more kind than when Jesus laid His life down for a bunch of people that didn’t deserve it?
Sadly, Christians are often the first ones to speak about everything they don’t like. Obviously, when we speak the truth we won’t always be popular but even when we do speak the truth we should say it with wisdom. And we should conduct ourselves in such a way that people can say whatever they want about us but they can’t deny how kind and consistent we are.
When I ask myself why Donna said those words to me I realize her perception of me was based on my character. And thankfully my character had been refined by the Lord by the time I met Donna. A few years prior to law school, the Lord had walked me through a serious refining process. During that time He taught me that my words and actions speak to people’s souls. The Lord showed me that it is my behavior, both verbal and nonverbal, such as the look in my eyes or even the tone of my voice, that ultimately serves as the avenue through which the Lord touches people’s lives. People notice.
If you walk into work or school each day with a grumpy attitude or critical words, why would anyone think twice about where your hope comes from? You don’t look like you have any hope acting like that. So be kind, be bold, and be bright because the gospel deserves your best.
I’ve written another short post with practical insights and prayers about being more effective when it comes to showing others that we are different! I plan to post this tomorrow 🙂 I hope this helps all of us remember to shine with our brightest potential.
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