DOES JESUS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
By Clare Walker, Holy Trinity In-House Writer
I was standing in line at the auto service department, waiting to pay my bill and pick up my car, when in like a hurricane blew a blustering, bad-tempered, foul-mouthed customer, family in tow, yelling at the service department employees, intimidating everyone, demanding that his car be delivered to him immediately.
“Sir, your vehicle will be right out,” explained one of the mechanics. “It’s getting its complimentary car wash.”
The man threw up his hands. “I don’t have time for a car wash,” he swore. “I’ve gotta be somewhere.”
He stormed and huffed around the lobby while the service department scrambled to get his minivan out of the car wash. His wife and children hovered sheepishly in the background. Eventually, his van appeared, gleaming but still dripping wet. He and his family piled in and drove off with a squeal of tires and a puff of exhaust.
Everyone in the service department breathed a sigh of relief.
This man’s outburst was no worse than countless other outbursts I’ve witnessed, but I found this one not only disturbing but embarrassing because, emblazoned in large letters on his t-shirt, clearly visible for all to see as he stomped and cursed, was the acclamation, JESUS MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
I often think about that man. He could hardly have made a worse case for the saving power of belief in Jesus Christ. Yet, as a Christian, I found his tirade highly instructive.
What did he do wrong? What lessons can we as practicing Catholics take away from his bad example?
We must be mindful, deliberate, and careful, remembering that as we go out into the world we are ambassadors for Christ. More important than any external emblems or icons—what we say we believe—is the inner state of our hearts, the way we comport ourselves, the way we treat—or mistreat—other people.
The Angry Man’s t-shirt boldly declared that JESUS MAKES A DIFFERENCE. But his behavior contradicted his statement more effectively than the arguments of any atheist.
We Christians believe many great and wonderful things and hold dear many sublime and luminous truths, and our behavior should reflect those lofty ideals. Are Christians the kindest, most polite patrons any store or restaurant has ever had the pleasure to serve? Are Christians the most attentive and understanding cashiers, waitresses, and retail salespersons any customer has ever encountered? Are Christians the most honorable, sportsmanlike, and fair-minded athletes ever to step onto the field, track or court? Are Christians the most ethical and honest business people ever to enter a boardroom or sign an employee’s paycheck?
Our faith is rich, beautiful, and true, but as G.K. Chesterton once remarked, sometimes the most compelling argument against Catholicism is Catholics themselves.
Don’t be the kind of Catholic that drives other people away from the faith. Make sure your behavior at home, at work, at school—wherever you are—attracts other people to the faith as they see Jesus living through you. “Let your light shine before men, so that they will see what you do and give praise to your Heavenly Father.”
Clare T. Walker, a Holy Trinity Parishioner since 2003, writes for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com). She is also an independent fiction author. Here are some handy links to her website and her books:
Clare T. Walker
Sun: 7:00am, 9:00am, 11:00am
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Holy Trinity Catholic Parish
25 East Richmond Street
Westmont, IL 60559