I finished law school and began practicing law at a firm in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The folks at the firm had a saying when someone was overreacting or losing control. They would say that person was “actin’ a fool!”
Sometimes when tensions would rise in our office, the paralegal would say to the attorney, “Now don’t go actin’ a fool right now” (read with a hint of southern twang!).
It cracked me up, but it’s so true. Lawyers really can act like fools, especially when stress and pressure rise. In fact, I think we can all “act a fool” sometimes.
Today’s passage, however, reminds us that Christians are called to a different kind of behavior:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:12-15
If we turn to the book of Colossians and read the chapter in context, we will see that no disclaimer exists. Our behavior should be different ~ loving, kind, humble, gentle, forgiving, etc. In fact, we can read this call to a higher standard of behavior several times in the New Testament, but we won’t find a disclaimer that gives us an “out” or an excuse to “act a fool.”
Bottom line: our behavior matters because we represent Christ in this world. John 13:35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We are experiencing stressful and extreme times right now in our nation and around the world. It feels, at times, too much to bear.
I believe it’s our behavior in these situations that should set us apart. If we can respond in love and not “act a fool,” someone might ask us why we are so calm, loving, kind, or patient at a time like this. BAM! The door opens to share our faith and show the love of Jesus to those around us.
I pray these terrible times give us opportunities to bring more people into the Kingdom of God, or simply introduce them to Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit rises up in powerful ways and keeps all Christians from “actin’ a fool” so that others will know we are His disciples.
In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.