(Please note that this is an English translation of the previous article “Perilaku yang Baik”)
We often meet Christians with a big faith, who understand the Word of God, who are active in Church, who can hear God’s voice, but in their lives they do not become examples for others because of their bad attitudes. There is a quote that says “Your attitude Determines Your altitude” which means that your attitude will determine how high you can be lifted up. As a Christian, in order to win a soul, you do not have to graduate from a Seminary or to be a priest or a scribe who understands Hebrew and Greek language. By your having a good attitude, people who do not know Jesus can be blessed.
Why we must have Good Behaviors?
1. OUR LIVES ARE A LETTER
In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul the Apostle wrote in 2 Corinthians 3: 2 (NIV), “ You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.”
Some time ago a friend of mine told me that a few days earlier, while she was driving her car after dropping off her children at school, this friend of mine received a phone call, and she did not know that on that particular morning there was a policeman on duty at the street corner. Of course receiving a phone call while driving is dangerous and violates the driving etiquette, but sometimes because of our bad habits we do this. When this police officer saw my friend driving and holding the phone, he gave a sign to my friend to pull over. My friend realized then that she was wrong, but she did not want to be ticketed, so she immediately threw down her mobile phone. When she opened the car window, the officer asked for her driver’s license and registration, then he said, “Mam, you do know that it is forbidden to make a call while driving?” My friend, without thinking, immediately evaded, “Who was calling, officer? I did not hold my phone.” Then for a few minutes my friend tried to deny her mistake so that she would not be ticketed. But suddenly the officer said, “Mam, do not lie please, we are both Christians.” When the officer said that, my friend felt very ashamed and sorry, she then apologized to the police officer.
How many of us have experienced this sort of thing? Without we realized, we as Christians are not being a good example for other people out there. Fortunately the police officer and my friend are both Christians, otherwise he might have seen from the incident and conclude that Christians usually lie, no different from other people who do not fear God.
Sometimes, we put the stickers of our Church or other Christian symbols on our car. Once I saw a car with a large Bible verse sticker on its rear window. The problem is, the car has repented, but the driver or the owner has not: cutting off, speeding, running at red light, having no driving etiquette on the road, etc.
Why is it that when a Christian does something wrong there will be more people criticizing them than if it is done by a non-Christian? “Are Christians like that?” might be the question asked. The answer is because they have high expectations or standards for us, God’s children.
So therefore be a letter wherever we go, so that without a word, people who do not know our Lord Jesus Christ can be blessed through our attitudes and behavior.
2. WE ARE THE SALT AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
The Book of Matthew 5: 13–14, 16 (NIV) says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Through our lives, let us be a good example wherever we are, so that people will be influenced by us, instead of us being influenced by others. Becoming the God’s children also does not mean we will be able to take advantage for ourselves on behalf of Christ and His church, but on the contrary we can be the channels of blessing for our fellowmen. Is not it one of the qualities of Love that it is “not self-seeking?”
A friend of mine has an aunt who is married to a senior Pastor who is quite respected and well known, especially for his role in the inter-church organizations. She told me one day this friend of mine accompanied her aunt to look at clothes at a boutique. Apparently the boutique owner is a Christian, because the shop was playing spiritual gospel songs. When her aunt realized this, she went straight to the cashier counter where the owner was, then after a brief exchange, my friend’s aunt said that she was the wife of a Pastor, then she mentioned her husband’s name. It happened that the owner the boutique did hear and know about the Pastor through some of his sermons on the radio. After seeing that, my friend’s aunt said, “We are both the children of God, should not I get some discount?” In short, the boutique owner gave my friend’s aunt a price cut, though we may never know whether she gave it voluntarily or because she felt forced to give.
Let us not on behalf of the Church and our status as God’s children try to get discounts or certain facilities or to benefit ourselves especially at the expense of others. If you cannot buy something, delay from buying it. That is not to say we as Christians cannot seek for a price cut, but refrain from doing so if it causes loses and troubles to others. If you cannot have a festive party, even a simple one is okay, as long as it is memorable. Christmas celebrations does not have to be held in an expensive hotel, instead remember that the important thing is our togetherness where God is present and the congregation is blessed. Because using the name of the Church and our status as God’s children to ask for discounts means that we lower the standard of the Church, that we lower ourselves as God’s children, moreover we embarrass the name of God who is Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide.
3. IT ALL STARTS WITH US
The Book of Matthew 7:12 (NIV) says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 is often known as the Christian Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. That is a summary of all the Law and the Prophets. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” If we want to be appreciated, learn to respect people. If we want to be respected, learn to respect people.
Husbands who want to be respected by their wives must respect their wives first. Parents who want their children to appreciate them must first learn to respect their children. Bosses who want to be appreciated by their subordinates must learn to care for their subordinates. Learn to respect people regardless of their professions.
To be respected by people, we do not need to spend money to pay for the respect, but by respecting others we will also be respected. If we want to get friendly treatment from others, we must learn to be friendly first. If we want others not to break their promises with us, we must first learn to keep ours.
Philippians 2: 4 (NIV) says, “…not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Being a person who has a good attitude has nothing to lose.
Once on a Sunday, my daughter and I just attended the Sunday Service. We then decided to have lunch at a noodle restaurant in a shopping center. It turned out that when we arrived, the restaurant was already busy. Luckily we were able to get a table, and then we ordered some food. After about half an hour, the food we ordered had not arrived. I called one of the waiters to check our order, and he said, “It is being processed.” After 15 minutes passed and the order still had not arrived, I called one of the waiters again. The answer was the same, “It is being processed.” Maybe I could endure hunger, but my child was getting restless, and as a mother I really could not bear to see my child start to starve. Finally after waiting for almost 90 minutes, my patience was exhausted, I waved to the Manager of the restaurant with the aim of letting out my emotions. But when I saw him walking towards my table, the Holy Spirit reminded me, “You are a servant of God. You just attended the Sunday service, and you are with your child. Apart from not being a good example and a blessing, this act of anger can also be imitated by your child.”
So when the Manager arrived at my table, I just said in a flat tone, “Sir, we have been waiting for an hour and a half, but our order has not come out yet. My daughter is hungry already. Could you please check for us, Sir?” The Manager swiftly headed straight to the kitchen, and in less than 5 minutes all the foods we ordered were ready on the table. It was that simple. You can imagine if I was emotional and angry that time, of course the Manager would also feel upset. Maybe he would still serve me, but I would have failed to be a good example for my daughter.
To see the true color of a person’s character is to see how they act when they are angry, sad, and depressed. Being a person who has a good attitude is not easy, especially in the midst of discouraging and unhelpful situations and conditions, but that is what God wants from us, His children. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV) says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
By Lenny Sifera Neman, A.Md
(This article was previously delivered in a sermon at GPPS Sungai Sukacita, “The River of Joy,” a pentecostal church in Surabaya, Indonesia, sometime in 2019)
(The Female hands holding a bible and a wooden cross illustration is taken from rawpixel)