Gone Into Hididng

Tom was a Christian.  He was committed; he was serious. He worked in a factory, and many of his coworkers were tough men, men who used rough language and who liked to drink and play hard…

Tom was afraid that if he didn’t go along with them that he wouldn’t fit in, that he wouldn’t be accepted.  He didn’t want them to think that he was soft or strange; he just wanted to be one of the guys.  So when he was at work he talked like the rest.  When to boys went out for a few brewskies on Thursday nights, Tom went along and behaved just the way everyone else did: He was one of the boys.

The boys liked to make fun of Christians… OK, the boys made fun of everybody, there wasn’t anything about making fun of Christians that was special; it wasn’t even intended to be anything more than fun, but it made Tom uncomfortable.  In time, the boys picked up on this, and one day someone asked him after several brews if he was a “churchie”.

Tom denied his faith. He didn’t really mean to, he just wanted to fit in.

A few days later when Tom was in his weekly Bible study, he learned something, something that he already knew.  Jesus had made an interesting comment one day when He told His listeners that if they confessed Jesus before men, He would confess them before the Father…

Tom felt convicted because he knew that he had denied Jesus before men; those men who were his friends.

Tom had not only hidden his faith, but he had also hidden from his faith…

Another passage ran through Tom’s mind that evening.  Jesus had told His disciples that the reason that people don’t follow Him was that they preferred the praise of men.

Tom was ashamed.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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20 Responses to Gone Into Hididng

  1. Wally Fry says:

    Don

    You know, it’s hard not to be a Tom. It just so happens that I work with a bunch of guys very similar to that. Rough, tough and profane. Very few profess any belief at all, and the few that do surely don’t act like it.

    All I would suggest to someone in this situation is…do a good job. Yep….simply be the best and what it is you and your co workers do. It’s hard to not gain acceptance if you are better than most.

    Also, walk away. When “those” conversations come up, I just wandered off. And, I took opportunities to just tell people about what I believed. They soon drew the link between that and my walking away. It’s funny, now for the most part my work buddies won’t even cuss around me, and if they do they usually say sorry.

    Only one time did I have a situation where there was some mockery of God….of course couldn’t walk away from that. Oddly, the person doing it had made claims to be a person of faith. That fellow and I went around the corner and had a little….chat.

    Have a blessed day!

  2. Alan Baglien says:

    No one wants to be the odd one out, growing up a PK – Preacher’s Kid, I got it a lot, but ended up going into the ministry anyway!

  3. Little Monk says:

    Moderator’s Note: Little Monk asked me to edit the mixup between “Tom” and “Tim” in this comment, and for two days I’ve been trying to do so without any success. I think this is part of my problem getting used to this computer as I have reported elsewhere. Yet this is an awesome comment, and I don’t want to with hold it any longer, so here it is with apologies to Little Monk, who caught the mistake; so the lack of editing is all on me! In any case, it is well worth the reading!

    Your story made an echo… When Jesus said:

    “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Here’s the echo:

    Tim was a Christian. He was committed; he was serious. He worked in a factory, and many of his coworkers were tough men, men who used rough language and who liked to drink and play hard…
    Tim wasn’t much afraid of anything or anybody, certainly not what other people thought. He just sorta fitted in with folks because he helped out when he could, learned from guys who knew more than him, and he’d listen when they needed to talk, without making them feel like they were stupid or bad.

    When the boys went out for a few brewskies on Thursday nights, Tom went along because he enjoyed their company (and they his), and behaved just the way he always did. Sometimes he provided designated driver service, when someone needed. He was man like them, and enjoyed that.

    At first, the boys like to make fun of Christians… OK, the boys made fun of everybody, but Tom didn’t join in to that or laugh at it. When the guys asked why not, he’d just smile and say people had made fun of him sometimes, or his kids. He felt like it hurt people, and wasn’t what he wanted to do… but they could go on, if they chose, but how did they feel when some “suit” made fun of them? Nah, it just wasn’t his “thing”.

    And then he’d just stand to get up a round of darts or pool (and he was wicked good at those), but he’d roar the loudest and call everyone’s attention only when someone else had just made a great shot. Somehow, playing with Tim always made you feel good.

    Tim never denied his faith, but he never talked about it either. He just breathed, walked, embraced, and lived it. No one ever knew unless… as happened from time to time, even at work in the lunchroom, somebody got him apart for a private one on one.

    Guys learned about Tim’s faith only when they sat down to unburden themselves privately, and they felt the love and compassion that would flow from him as he listened to them. Sometimes it was a problem at home, or with a co-worker, or their mom or dad or brother/sister was seriously sick. Quietly he would say he would pray for them, and for their concern, and speak of his own faith and assurance that the God who “breathed forth” for each of us here, now, and always… was somehow working grace in this moment.

    Yup, Tim quite enjoyed his Thursday evenings. One by one, some of those guys thought about starting to join him on Wednesday evenings a a Bible Study, or even Sunday mornings, too.

    Yup, there was just something special about hanging with Tim.

    Go figger…

  4. Huge impact in a few words. This little story needs to be in every Bible study, Don.

  5. I have a coworker I had to bring into the light. I actually think I changed her heart. I gave her a cute bible. She says she’s reading it often. Now we exchange bible verses. Soon she will be ready for church.The hardcore types I work away from until they fall. Most times they will, we can only be there for them. God Bless all Angels. Amen?

  6. This is something we have all faced, I think. Well written. I hope Tom, like Peter, found grace and forgiveness. It is not always easy picking up our cross, is it? But, it is so worth it. I enjoyed reading this, thank you.

  7. Thanks for your story, Don.

    When Christ found me back in my Air Force days, I was at Yale with 80 really smart guys learning Chinese. There were about six active atheists, much smarter than me. I was so excited about my new relationship with God, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. The atheists tried hard to sway me away from Christ, but I later found out they were challenged to consider their lives by my testimony.

    But a side benefit to my very public witness was my own rapid growth as a believer. I really believe that openly confessing Christ puts us on the fact track towards maturity. I am not as open now as I used to be however. Not sure if it’s wisdom or fear of offending.

  8. mgsunshine says:

    Nothing makes you more uncomfortable as a believer than to be put in this kind of circumstance at work or anywhere. I walked into the room to sign a register I think, and ended up talking to a co worker about something when the conversation in the room became littered with lots of foul language. It was so awkward because I didn’t just want to walk out suddenly but I knew that I shouldn’t be there. I stayed for a little while, so it wouldn’t seem awkward – me just running out, and then I left. But the conviction in my heart all day long. I kept praying and asking God to forgive me and promising that I would do differently next time. The same experience kept coming up again and again in different times and occasions – in and out of the work setting. Like in the store I bumped into a former co worker and during our greeting and chatting, she started using foul language. I’ve never seen anything like it, I knew it was God testing me, but each time I blew it. I just never could muster up the strength to check the person about their language. And I’d feel so overwhelmed with guilt and shame at my cowardice.

    Until finally, I gathered the strength and twice in one day, I boldly and confidently checked the use of profanity. It’s better to stand out than to fit in.

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