I was walking through a parking lot the other day when a bumper sticker caught my eye. For reasons I can't explain I've been a bumper sticker fan most of my life. This despite the fact that I don't like having them on my own car. The only one I've had read "If you love Jesus, TITHE, anyone can honk".
This one made me equal parts angry and sad. It read:
Try Jesus, if you don't like Him you can always go back to Satan
I literally stopped and went back to make sure I had read it right. My first impulse as a person of faith was to scrape the bumper sticker off or disfigure it so that no one else would have to look at it. Then I was overwhelmed at the sadness that some person thought this was a form of evangelization. That it represents the Gospel or God.
It is the overwhelming arrogance of the statement. The underlying message is "I'm going to Heaven and you're going to Hell. Nyah!" I'm always appalled at folks who seem to revel in pointing out who's "going to Hell". It's arrogant to think we know or have any business making such judgements. For that matter it's arrogant to automatically assume that any of us are going to Heaven. Yes I believe in the grace of a forgiving God. But grace by definition is something unearned and therefore we have no right to declare ourselves saved. That we have hope of salvation, yes. That we should start getting fitted for our halos? Arrogance.
Even beyond that how can any of us so blithely just dismiss one of God's children this way? The only responsible reaction to a person who chooses to turn away should be mourning tempered by a determination to work harder to assist in revealing God to them.
If we believe that we are judged by how we live our lives, how we represent a life in faith in this world, by the fruits of our faith how can we not be outraged at the sentiment of this bumper sticker?
This is not what we are called to be or do or say.