Pickles on My Feet
by John Partridge
February 18, 2021
The other day I looked, and I had pickles on my feet.
Okay, they weren’t really pickles. What I had, was a pair of socks that looked as if they said “PICKLES” written on the toe. What they really said, or were supposed to say, was “DICKIES” but, because of a particular choice of font, the way that the ink had been applied, and a little wear, what had been intended as a brand marking suddenly reminded me of cucumbers in brine. Obviously, the two things are in no way similar. Or at least they shouldn’t be.
But it got me to thinking (and that’s always risky).
How often are we mistaken for something that we are not?
We’ve all heard stories about people who were assaulted, or worse, because they were mistaken for someone, or something else. We’ve seen national stories about people of color who simply decided to go running in the “wrong” neighborhood, innocent young persons who were assumed to have bad intentions because of the clothing that they wore, or even new reporters on assignment who were attacked by police. Many of those incidents were racially motivated, and inexcusable for any reason. But those situations, and pickles on my feet, illustrate how easy it can be to be mistaken for something, or someone that we aren’t… or at least, that we shouldn’t be.
How often are we, as Christians, mistaken for something, or someone, that we are not?
Or, to think of it in another way, how often do we appear to be someone that we should not?
It happens. We get tired. We get angry. And our impatience, anxiety, exhaustion, and frustration cause us to look different. These normal, human, emotions, especially in times of stress (like we might experience during a pandemic), can cause Christians to say and do things that do not represent the church, or Jesus, well. A harsh word, and angry email, forgetting to tip an overworked and underpaid server, mistreating an employee, an angry or short-tempered reply to a store employee, or a hundred other ways we can act, poorly, because of our frustration and impatience.
And so, I hope that all of us will occasionally take a moment to breathe. I encourage all of us to pause for a moment, whenever necessary, before we speak. And, in that moment, let us consider how we will look when we “wear” those words. Let us ask ourselves if those words and actions will make us look like Jesus, or as his followers, or will they cause the people around us to mistake us for someone, or something else.
It doesn’t take much.
A little wear around the edges and suddenly “Dickies” looks like “Pickles.”
Now, more than ever, we should commit ourselves to doing everything that we can so that our friends, family, employers, employees, coworkers, and everyone around us can look at us and see Jesus… and not someone else.
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