The other day I was walking on the side walk, there were three guys in front of me, and I was simply observing. Walking towards me on the opposite side of the street was a group of girls. One of them recognized the closest guy and shouted out “Hey Brian!”. He acknowledged her with the conventional passing nod, “What’s up?” She raised her voice to tell a brief story about how the pralines he had given her were amazing and that her family had already ordered more. That story ended just about as quick as it began and they never broke stride. They simply turned as the story progressed and then ended with both of them walking backwards. “See you later.”
We rounded the corner, clearly out of site and hearing distance of the girls, “Pralines?!” one of them snickered and bumped into him. Apparently, the penalty for the previous interaction was ridicule. “Yeah, I don’t know what that was about” the guy laughed deflecting the oncoming tease. It was as if he was embarrassed. Whether he was or not, I don’t know.
The first thing I thought was that if she had been able to hear or see how they had reacted to the conversation, her feelings may have been hurt. Maybe she had a little crush. Maybe she was just a friend. Maybe he had a crush and the only way to avoid being the joke was to act as if he was a little annoyed. Regardless, he seemed somewhat embarrassed.
I know I have done that exact same thing to try and fit in a little better. It takes very little influence for us to pass off someone we may care about in order to impress the people we are currently with or even just to divert the laughter. It’s like we can justify it because if they are not around, what harm could it do? It made me feel guilty. I wouldn’t want someone to laugh at another person simply because I talked to them. I don’t want people to be ashamed to be seen talking with me. It made me hope that I would never do that to someone regardless of who I was around but I know I have.
This same kind of thing happens with our faith. Typically it seems that there are two responses, a far left and a far right. One is belligerently proud, and the other is denial. I think both can be equally as bad. The proud response defends and then belittles causing harm to others. Denial diverts the conversation or denies the truth and causes harm to our self. I think the correct response is to confidently take the ridicule not denying but not defending. Just being confident in who you are.
32″Therefore everyone who confesses*(acknowledges)* Me before men, I will also confess*(acknowledge)* him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
Our response reflects our maturity and our security in who we are. I really like the word confess. Confessing something to someone involves at least some portion of humility. When you confess something, you are ready to reveal a truth about yourself. True confession does not try to justify what you did or believe, but rather acknowledges it. You are in place where you are ready to be vulnerable and take what ever ridicule may come as a result.
So going back to the story, I hope that the next time I am in a situation like that I have the confidence to confess and acknowledge the person as being my friend. Not divert, poke fun, defend, or get angry. But just stand on what is really true. I think that’s the right response.
“Pralines?!” one of them snickered.
“Haha, yeah she’s a sweet girl. I bought her some pralines the other day. I’m glad they liked them.”
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