The iPod shuffle landed on a song by The Animals that brought back memories of a childhood lived in black and white. I remembered Ed Sullivan awkwardly introducing "The Animals" on his show many years ago. After watching the clip again it was even more awkward than I remembered. The song is called "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and it produced a surprising time of reflection and prayer. Are you telling me that you don't have your quiet times around songs by The Animals?
The song is an apology and explanation to a love interest. The writer wants her (in this case) to know that he means well and sometimes he is just human. He makes mistakes.
If I seem edgy I want you to know
That I never mean to take it out on you
Life has it's problems and I get my share
And that's one thing I never meant to do
Because I love you…
Oh, Oh baby don't you know I'm human
Have thoughts like any other one
Sometimes I find myself long regretting
Some foolish thing some little simple thing I've done.
But the lyric that caught my eye and heart is the chorus.
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.
It feels a little odd to be praying a prayer based on the vocals of Eric Burdon. But those words express a desire of my heart. I want to represent Jesus well. I want others to know that my intentions are good. I want people to see the grace of the Lord Jesus. When I leave my house as a representative of Christ I do no want my words or actions to be misunderstood.
But my real fear is that I can too easily give myself a pass because I do believe that my intentions are good. But if I am not showing the love of Jesus and displaying the Fruit of the Spirit then I run a good chance of being misunderstood. The world is suspicious of Christians. We talk about Jesus and how He has changed our lives but then we live our lives just like everyone else.
Sorry I was a little edgy BUT I was really stressed…
And my least favorite rationalization…I'm not perfect, I'm just forgiven. AHHHHHHHH!
Yes, you are forgiven. But you are also an ambassador of Christ and with that comes responsibility. Paul outlined that responsibility to the believers in Corinth.
God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5, NLT)
God has given us the resources to be His ambassador. He has given us His grace, His love and the comfort and strength of HIs Spirit. I want to live out of that grace and not just good intentions.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If I meditate on those traits I suspect I can talk about Jesus and not be misunderstood.