The older I get, the more I realize Mama was right … Your mouth can get you in trouble. Actually, the older I get, the more I realize Mama was right about a whole lot of things, and I try to implement the lessons I’ve learned as much as I possibly can. Take my chickens, for example. They’re always hatched before I count them. Well, they’re mostly hatched. My chickens are sometimes hatched before I count them. On occasion. Occasionally, I will wait to count only the hatched chickens. Once in a blue moon.
Maybe it’s obvious I’m hard headed. And I have a mind that doesn’t always run my words through a filter, so I have to be careful about what comes out of my mouth. That’s why I have a shirt that I bought at the World of Wally to help me remember who I am. I’m a Christian and I should behave like one. My shirt says Team Jesus across the chest. When I’m wearing it, I feel like I’m getting a little extra mental discernment before I speak because people can see before I open my pie hole, what they ought to expect from me. But it can have its disadvantages too, and that’s the subject of this episode.
From Atomic Red Studios in Northeast Georgia, I’m Michael Blackston and this is Funny Messy Life.
"So if you’re a Christian, what are the disadvantages of wearing a Jesus shirt?"
It’s just what I said … People have immediate expectations based on what they know about Jesus. The word “Christian” actually means, Little Christ. We’re supposed make our best efforts to represent that name and His teaching. We are to try to be as much like Jesus as we can. I believe a person’s best witness is how they are seen in the eyes of other people. So, if you’re mouthy, like I am, and if you have a hard time filtering your thoughts before you spit them out MO-ron style, like I do, it can set a bad example if you’re misbehaving while wearing a shirt with Jesus brandished across the chest. Yes, it does help me to think more deeply about how I behave, but when I DO mess up, there I am with the name of the Son of God emblazoned for all to see. It’s a good thing, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. I know what I should and shouldn’t do or should and shouldn’t say according to my belief system, but I’m not perfect. There’s going to be something that I stumble over and somebody else might see that and start thinking, Not only is he a MO-ron, but he’s a hypocritical MO-ron.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to play it safe though, and not wear my Team Jesus shirt. I have faith and it’s a discipline I need in my life anyway.
It doesn’t escape me, however, that this would be a really boring piece if I left it there sitting in a puddle of psychological self-awareness and potential piety. Instead, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking, Michael, please give me an example. There MUST be some situations you can think of - some mental packet of mayonnaise you could squeeze onto the meat of this sweet, sweet literary burger.
And you’d be right. In fact, that’s a good place to start. With condiments.
Imagine I walk into a dingy diner where the walls are covered with people’s names written in Sharpie. This place has been a staple of this tiny town in the middle of Alabama since Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
I deem this land the property of England and I shall endeavor to befriend the natives, teaching them the proper way to live and also the way to die if they don’t agree to the way I teach them to to live. And also, if I want what they have, but they refuse to give me it. I shall teach them how to die then as well. But first, we shall build dingy diners so fellow sojourners might scribe their names onto the walls with their quills whilst dipping fried potatoes into a paste deriven from the tomato plant!
There’s no such word as “deriven”, sir.
I claim it for England!
What if I would like to dip MY fried potatoes into a paste made from the tomato plant, but when I go to tear a small corner of the packet, it catches a seam and rips all the way down the side?
Don’t you even try to tell me that’s never happened to you and you know how aggravating it is.
I’m wearing my Team Jesus shirt though, and while my initial reaction is to become angry because everything I’ve touched today has either fallen, broken, or rolled under the most impossible crevice, and now THIS, I can’t scream at the top of my lungs.
CURSE YOU, UNWIELDY KETCHUP PACKET! THINE STRAW BE THE LAST!
I have to think about Who I represent and act calmly. My rage must be contained in that moment. If I’m to say anything at all, it will have to be along the lines of, I forgive thee, imperfect packet. I shall try another.
Or in the event that I have to text something important to someone, but due to the fact that I have short, stubby, sausage fingers, I keep misspelling everything. I’ll immediately want to throw my phone at the wall and declare, VILE DEVICE! HOW SMALL IS THY KEYBOARD! SUCH THAT MINE DIGITS DENY THEIR RIGHTLY POSITIONS! A PALL UPON THY MAKER AND SHALL THEE SUFFER ETERNALLY HENCEFORTH!
But nay. That’s not nice. Anger is sometimes warranted, but it’s my own pudgy fingers that are to blame. I think about my shirt and I’m moved to adjust my thinking before I speak. How I wish my fingers and your keyboard were fairly met, dear phone. Verily, I say that it is not your fault. I shall pick up the pieces of you that have shattered to the floor from your contact with the wall, and I shall weep over you. We shall meet again on the other side in the new contract I’ll have to sign now because I have behaved poorly.
Obviously in this example, I didn’t catch the initial rage in time and I would have to repent if it were real. I would have to look down at my shirt in shame.
Michael, I think you’re being little over-the-top. No one is going to expect you to walk on water just because your shirt says “Jesus”.
True. No one will expect that, nor would I want them too. Still, we live in an age where you can’t blow a gasket and expect it to be forgotten as soon as it happens. There is the potential that your poor decision to flip off the guy who cut in front of you will find its way to the internet, and if you have a Jesus bumper sticker on your car and it’s the guy behind you filming, you’ve just made all of us look bad. People judge with big blankets, so if we claim to represent a certain way of thinking, then act in a manner counter to that, most people will cast a stinky eye toward the whole lot. I didn’t say it was right, but it’s the way people are.
In light of that, it wouldn’t do for me to walk into a pot shop in Colorado wearing my Team Jesus shirt and holler, Gimme the FATTEST doobie ya got!
I don’t smoke anything, of course, and especially not pot. I’ve never had occasion to request a fat doobie. In fact, other than this piece, you’re likely never to witness me use the term again, unless it’s squashed between the bookends of the words Scooby and Doo. But if I did do something like that and you were there, purchasing your own fat doobie (there I go again, saying the word, doobie), which is legal to do in the state of Colorado, wouldn’t you cast a tiny bit of judgement in my direction?
I think you would, if we’re all being as honest as Abe here.
I understand what my weaknesses are. I’ve let my mouth get me in trouble since I started talking. It’s nice to have something extra on me every once in a while to sit there in the back of my mind, saying, I know you want to want to avoid that person in the store that won’t stop talking once you let them get started, but you’re supposed to be a representative of Christ. It says so right there on your chest. Certainly you didn’t put on that shirt and expect you could act any silly old way, did you? Now get over there. She might want to tell you all of the gory details of her bunion problems, but she also might NEED to tell someone about it. Lend her your ear, Christian. There’s even a blessing in it for you.
I know listeners might think I take my belief in Jesus lightly, but I promise that’s not the case at all. I simply have a solid inclination that God has a great sense of humor and appreciates a good laugh. Seriously though, I do pay a little closer attention to the way I behave and treat people when I’m wearing that shirt. It’s not that it gives me more power, but it’s sort of the same thing as people touching a cross they have around their neck in a difficult situation. It’s not a talisman, but a reminder of who I proudly am. I’m a child of The King, that’s who I am. I don’t need T-shirt to tell me that.
But it doesn’t hurt.
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