Published November 24, 2015

Shelia Shares
"Actions & Reactions"

On my way to work on Friday, I saw a police car sitting in a school parking lot. As soon as I saw the car, I tapped my brakes. It was an involuntary reaction. I glanced down and realized I was not traveling above the speed limit. But, apparently my reaction to seeing a police car is to step on the brakes.

That made me realize that I also have reactions to people that I see.

There is a man that panhandles downtown. Whenever I turn the corner and see Ray, inside I say "Oh, no." He has been panhandling for years. He probably makes more money than we do. He has a sour disposition. I know he will ask for money.

I remember taking him for a meal at subway one time. They said he couldn't eat inside because he had caused trouble there before. We agreed to sit with him while he ate his sub, drank his coffee and warmed up. My reaction to Ray isn't generally the best.

Some weeks back, we were walking through the City and looked across the street. There were Millard and Pris, friends and members of our church. Immediately, I started to smile. In fact, we crossed the street and talked with them for some time.

As Christians, what kind of reaction do people have to us? We need to reflect Christ and that should be a big part of their reaction to us.

When I was in high school, one Thanksgiving my parents found out that one of my classmates was going to be home while his family went to visit extended family. He was staying home because he had to work on Thanksgiving afternoon. They invited him for Thanksgiving lunch and he agreed to come. We ate a delicious meal my mother prepared, then played cards and watched TV. When it was time for him to work at the gas station, he thanked my parents and left.

Some years later, he was married to one of my girlfriends and we got together for an evening. He reminded me of that Thanksgiving and then said that he couldn't wait to leave our house. When I questioned why he wanted to get away, he said that it felt like church. I asked him to explain, since we hadn't talked about church or religion.

He told me that it was a feeling he had while he was at our house. He felt like he needed to do something. He felt like he wasn't living right and needed to change that. We would say that he was "under conviction." It wasn't what was said but how we lived. The love of Christ was shown.

As a Christian, what kind of reaction do people have to me?

Does meeting me push people away from the Lord? Is it the classic, "If that's what a Christian is like, I don't want anything to do with it."

Does meeting me call people to Christ? Does it encourage them to make a change and accept Jesus into their lives?

We will each be a witness this week. But will it be for the devil or for Christ? Let your actions make a difference this week by drawing people into the Kingdom of God.

- Shelia

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