Recently, I worked in a college bookstore. I enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would. Even as quiet as I usually am, I found it easy to converse with the customers and got along with my coworkers from day one. One of my coworkers was such a sweet person. She was the oldest, happily married with children, always looked out for the rest of us and I don’t remember ever hearing her say anything vulgar. She was loud, funny, friendly and wore a LOT of jewelry. I’m talkin’ five rings, three necklaces, and huge bejeweled earrings. Simply because she wore such a conspicuous amount of jewelry, it never occurred to me that she might be SDA (because the SDA church encourages modesty, meekness, and the general shunning of the overtly flashy).
On our last day of work, we were talking about sushi. I was explaining how I didn’t know much about sushi except that it usually contained ingredients I didn’t eat (in accordance with my SDA beliefs, in this case, shellfish, bottom feeders, scavengers, or anything without both fins and scales). After suggesting sushi that didn’t contain any of those ingredients (Teriyaki rolls anyone?) she asked me why I didn’t eat certain things and I said it was because I was SDA and she said “Me too” but explained that she had not been to church in several years. I responded, “Really? That’s cool. What church did you go to?” but I didn’t hear what she said because I was replaying all the hilarious but bawdy comments I had made, the conversations we had, the things I laughed at with my coworkers, and the obnoxious nail polish I changed every week (too flashy).
I don’t know whether or not she was a practicing Adventist or how involved she was in the past but that’s irrelevant. I was abashed in regards to my prior behavior, as well I should have been. I did a disservice to my religion and should have prevented it whether there was another Adventist around or not. I guess by secular standards, I didn’t do anything wrong and no one would hesitate to call me a “good person” however, by my religious standards, I allowed myself to blend in with everyone else and lost a chance to be an example of my faith.
Well kids, the moral of the story is the clichéd “don’t judge a book by its cover” and also know that God is watching. Even if there is no one around to tell on you, remember that God knows and sees all. He gets real-time audio-visual information on all of us 24/7. I know that I shouldn’t do or say anything to others that I wouldn’t share with God. It’s hard but I’m trying because I’m a work in progress.