“Do you really live like that… like what you write about in your blog?” my friend, Jim, asked me in disbelief. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that question since it came from a man whose life is devoted to serving God. I was completely taken aback that someone who professes faith in God would challenge me on the point of loving others unconditionally. My answer to Jim was unequivocally in the affirmative. “After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do?” I quipped right back at him.
You’re probably wondering what started this spicy interaction between Jim and me, so here’s how it all began. We were out to lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, which, surprisingly, wasn’t very busy that particular afternoon. Since none of us were in a rush, I was looking forward to a peaceful, quiet luncheon with my husband and our friend. That wasn’t to be.
Sitting before me on the table was a variety of appetizing culinary delights. As I was about to take a bite of the beef lo mein (which happens to be delicious at this restaurant), Jim started to talk about his faith in God with our waiter. I knew from past encounters that this could take a while. I surmised that my lo mein, along with the other dishes, was about to get cold.
The waiter politely listened to Jim, but tried to bring the conversation to a close. (Either he wasn’t interested in what Jim had to say, or he had other work to do. I’ve concluded it was a little of both.) Jim persisted, but still got no response from the waiter. Finally, Jim gave in and let the waiter get back to work. Aha, I thought, now I can get back to my lo mein. Again, it wasn’t to be.
Up to that point, we hadn’t noticed the two older ladies sitting at the table directly to our left. Apparently, they had been listening to the whole conversation between Jim and the waiter, and did not approve. They made a snide comment under their breath (in a stage whisper loud enough for us to hear) about how inappropriate Jim had been to the waiter. Knowing Jim’s boldness, I realized their comments would not go unanswered.
Sure enough, Jim responded with a challenge. “What business is it of yours what I say to others?” he asked. This led to a series of unpleasant “back and forths” that didn’t end well. These ladies adamantly declared that Jim should keep his faith to himself and not impose it on others. Jim felt quite the opposite. After all, Jim believes it’s a blessing to share his faith, not an imposition.
I tried at various moments to intervene in the fracas, but I wasn’t wholehearted in my attempt. I have to admit, I agreed with Jim that we have the right to freely share with others what we believe about God. As things were really heating up between the two parties, I suddenly felt so convicted that we had been completely disregarding God’s U Love principles. Here we were sharing our faith in God with others, yet not demonstrating His love to them at all. I knew we had gone in the wrong direction and that we needed to rectify the situation.
To find out what I did to turn this hot mess around (or even if it did get turned around), join me right here next week for the surprising conclusion to my lo mein dilemma!
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