Throughout my life, I’ve met more than my fair share of people. I’ve lived a somewhat nomadic life, attended too many schools to ever be considered healthy, worked all kinds of different jobs, some that had me travelling all over the United States, and rode on the back of a motorcycle all over the place to meet up with other bikers and hang. And that doesn’t even begin to include all my cyber-friends who are becoming pretty important in my really-real life. Yes. I have met a ton of human beings.
And without fail, there is only one kind of human being on this earth that I have the absolute worst time even being remotely polite to. These are “Christians” who tout their
spirituality in an effort to fleece you. I’m not talking about the sincere ones, and it doesn’t take much digging to figure out the difference between the sincere and the sincerely crooked. I don’t take people’s word for it when it comes to labeling someone a believer or not…I look at the fruit.
This last week, before Chef got hired on full-time, he answered an ad on Craigslist for a painter. He pretty much applied for anything in Tulsa, and the next day, I was inundated by phone calls. I work in HR, at a staffing company, and I’ve grown pretty adept at weeding out the nonsense from the really valuable interests, and one call I basically blew off was from a man who wanted to interview Chef, but would need a new resume created for him leaving out his career of one million years as a chef (duh!), and only include the two times ever he worked in hard laborers position. Already, I was politely hurrying the guy off the phone. Why call Chef and demand another resume? You think the one I sent you is rough, wait till you get the cocktail napkin sized experience he possesses, accompanied by the GLARING holes in his work timeline. Seriously, dude? He’s in his late 50’s. He worked maybe two years altogether in other fields. I basically blew the phone call off and kept on keeping on with my own day.
I mentioned it to Chef later that evening in passing, basically explaining why he should not do this should someone require it in the future, and we left it at that. The next morning, though, the demanding little guy slipped past the Bird-Filter, and sweet-talked ole Chef into hitching his wagon to this guy’s star. And, as an added selling point, Chef brought Johnny, our roommate, into the company as well. By the time I got home from work, the two men were busy painting houses and getting them ready to be inspected.
Later that evening, I got to hear about their day, and frankly, it pissed me off. First of all, Mr. X insisted that they listen only to Christian music. Johnny is not a Christian, and Chef isn’t a big fan of the Lawrence Welk type of hymnal music this guy demanded they listen to. But, troopers that they were, they went along with this guy’s preferences. Then, the amounts of money he was going to pay them started to change. What had started out as $8.00/hour per man turned into “God will provide. We will scrap all this stuff left in the houses and you will be paid.” Except, Mr. X drove a Dodge Dart-type tiny vehicle, so Chef’s truck was “volunteered” to haul heavy discarded appliances to scrapyards, and not a penny was offered in re-compensation. At one point, Chef coasted into a gas station and informed Mr. X that he was broke, the truck was empty, and unless he paid for some gas, they were out of business for the day. Mr. X then, generously, put $5 in the tank. and that was it. Johnny basically refused to invest anymore time and effort in the guy, but Chef, who comes from a different generation with a different work ethic, didn’t want to cut the user lose.
Chef hasn’t worked a structured job in a while, and I have to admit, I was glad to see that he hadn’t lost that insanely spotless work ethic. I was, however, annoyed that he was wasting it on this guy. It’s been rough trying to make it on my one income, and I was really looking forward to the help. And even a blind person could tell, the help wasn’t coming from Mr. X’s direction. So, after work, I headed over to the house that they were punching out. I wanted to get a read on Mr. X myself.
I pulled up behind Chef’s truck that was literally dragging the ground, it was so overloaded with metal crap. I’d arrived when the mission for Mr. X was to get some money from the scrap yard so he could pay for his hotel room that night. Yep.
Chef introduced me to him, and Brother Mr. X said, “How are thou?” Don’t even get me started.
The old English version of “you” isn’t more holy than our American version. I will never get why some people insist on talking like a weirdo to “broadcast” their choice to follow the
Lord. If the Lord has taken up residence in your heart, you won’t need to blare Christian music to all of your employees or speak like a Monty Python cast member to show it. People will know. It is will show in your actions, and your attitude, and your very demeanor. I was pretty tired, and less than patient with the slippery way he talked when it came to when Johnny and Chef were getting paid. And frankly, that was all I wanted to hear from the snake-charmer. He slipped and slid all over that subject. I don’t get confused by a lot of words. I was pretty short with him about the “till-tapping” he was trying to do with my brain. I corrected him repeatedly about his “math”, and he finally scurried away, feigning a paint emergency. I figured he could sense I might not be so easily mollified with vague promises from God, references to some of the mega-churches we have around here, and his liberal use of the word “thou”. I just wanted to know his last name, the church people’s company that had hired him, and which of the churches they were at.
He was not forth-coming.
I know. Shocking.
I listened to Mr. X as he kept trying to sell Chef on this fairy tale about how there was money to be made if we were willing to sacrifice a little. Yet, as I looked at Chef, worn out, exhausted, and worried about the extreme loads of appliances he was being manipulated to take to the junk yards in a truck with a really bad tire, it was clear who was doing all the sacrificing. I whispered to him that we needed to talk when he got home that evening, and I left. Mr. X was glad to see me go.
While this was going on, though, Chef actually had secured a real job for a real company with a real payroll budget and a real payday schedule.
I was over the moon.
Mr. X was not.
Frantically, he kept painting rainbows and flowers in Chef’s mind about the MILLIONS that could be made. Chef isn’t a stupid man, sadly for Mr. X, and he resigned the next day.
Johnny, Chef, and I knew Mr. X had no intention of ever paying the guys a dime, and we wrote the experience off as yet another lesson learned. I apologized to Johnny and used the whole thing as a teaching tool to explain, none of us are very good representatives for the God we serve. Mr. X was an idiot who was daring to use God to cover his thievery. But God isn’t mocked, and that kind of thing will catch up with him eventually. God can handle His business… We basically put the whole experience out of our minds and happily got ready for Chef to start his real job.
But Mr. X was miffed, broke, and his back was against the wall on some jobs he’s taken the money for, but hadn’t gotten the supplies needed to complete the jobs. So, in a stellar manner befitting an example of heaven, he saw an opportunity to blackmail Chef. He cleverly bypassed me and Johnny.
I about blew a gasket when I read his texts to Chef.
Remember, I mentioned that Mr. X was a very vocal Christian man, speaking in the accent of our Lord Himself, right? Well, he threw a little text fit that belied those confessions. He accused both Johnny and Chef of taking tools that never existed, demanding that they pay for things that never were purchased, and basically threatening to tell his investors that they had ripped him off. He threw in that he was disappointed in their level of good Christian behavior, and wrapped up the shake-down with a profession of his forgiveness, but his insistence they bring him either the tools or the money equivalent.
Problem was, it was me who had picked up Chef and Johnny’s tools. Three tiny little toolboxes with almost nothing in them but painter rolls. And my little white step ladder. He had the audacity to list that as something they’d stole too.
Yes. I went to town. I’m a little more comfortable with anger these days, and this was so wrong on so many levels. I agree that this is just some of the stuff Chef is going to have to work on while he builds his reputation back up, but no way am I okay with someone chasing people away from God in such a blatant, bold, repulsive way.
This guy was full of crap, and I told him so. I pointed out each and every thing he lied about. I pointed out his greed when it came to money despite the use of Chef’s truck to get it. I let it be known that it hadn’t gone unnoticed by me that I was unable to get a last name or the investor’s names from him. And I really let him have it when I told him that there are real Christians here that take our mission to save the dying seriously, and people like him were only hurting the cause. He was speechless. It was like a flood opening up. How does any of this behavior draw anyone to the Lord? I find the ridiculous accent and use of thou and thee to be repulsive. I imagine an unsaved person would find it ridiculous and a bit arrogant. You can listen to Christian music until your ears fall off, but if you lie to the people depending on you, use them in such a way as to cause them even more hardship, and then try to fleece them to cover your own bad behavior, you are schmuck. A schmuck trying to deceive people by putting on a show. And most people, saved or not, aren’t buying it.
Rebekkah is equally angry with this use of God for a dime. Recently, while she was working, a Bible Study group led by one of the off-duty employees of the restaurant she worked at, stole their meals. STOLE THEIR MEALS WHILE CONDUCTING A BIBLE STUDY RIGHT THERE FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD TO SEE!!
I have to ask. Do these people know that God will not be mocked?
How’s that for a disconnect? All that tells me is that there are people out there who think God isn’t watching. Well, my friends, He isn’t your pal, and He isn’t so desperate for your friendship and love that He’s going to overlook blatant greed and stealing that even the heathen knows is just plain wrong. You’re messing with the wrong God, my friends.
I say all of that to say this: You represent God if you are saved. Let it show in your actions, you attitude, and your demeanor. God isn’t a fool that He can be used without consequence. And an entire cloud of witnesses is always watching us, not to mention the rest of the living world. If you are struggling with sin, join the club. There is no shame in admitting we suck. We all are pathetically weak and terrible examples of Jesus. But I’d think really, really carefully before I used God and His name to manipulate, steal from, or otherwise abuse another person. I’m thinking there is probably a harsh consequence for making the unsaved swear off the whole Christian thing as hypocritical and self-serving.
Mr. X backed off when I mentioned the OK Labor Board and their general disinterest in the Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. Seems he suddenly didn’t want to have anything else to do with us. But I have that little bit of sadness in the back of my mind about all the people this fool is going effect when it comes to God and His Son.
I’ll pay anyone $5 to go break his stupid radio. :-) Please forgive the tone. I get upset at how easily we can drive people away from the only One that can save them. Have a good afternoon!