I have a feeling that I don’t have to write anything about the symbol above to invoke a response of some kind. Most likely you’ve already formed an opinion, felt a feeling or reacted mentally to the image. I would venture to guess that many can even tell a story or share a word about their thoughts when they see it.

Welcome to week 4 in the Never Beyond series for People of the Second Chance.

I’m honored to be a blogger for this series because it challenges me to pause and think about grace. It’s a word I throw around often but my application is lacking. Just when I think it’s not, I see an image like the one above. I feel the rush of judgement and (gulp) hatred. That is when it hit me that this is a symbol. While it’s a symbol of everything Christianity is against, I wonder if  “our symbol” doesn’t cause a reaction in some people too.

I could be way off base here, but I wonder if our cross around the neck, Jesus fish on the car and christian gear don’t cause a reaction in non-believers too. I’m not talking about one that would lead them to your church on Sunday morning either. I’m talking about a feeling of bitterness, anger or even hatred. I’m talking about the bad experience they had, the hurt they experienced or the hypocrisy they witnessed. While I’m quick to rush to judgement on the symbol above, I wonder if my symbol hasn’t done some damage too.

My challenge (and yours if you feel convicted to do so) is to keep perspective that the “cross can offend”. While that is a saying we often use in churches, it’s not exactly oozing with grace. How many people have walked away from church BECAUSE of the church or someone in it? We need to leave the 99 and follow the 1. Our WWJD bracelet that offends a co-worker should be the bridge to extend grace to find out why. The “Jesus Fish” on the back of our car shouldn’t be gas to a flame, it should be the thing that extinguishes the fire of bitterness.

While the symbol above is horrific and full of hatred, pause today and think about the symbols you wear and the reaction they cause in others too.

Who would you give a second chance?