I was on my way to the dentist the other day and noticed, in the idle way one notices things when driving nowhere in particular, the vanity plate of the vehicle in front of me.
It was a newish Audi of sorts, all sparkly clean, obviously a pretty expensive car, sporting a plate that read: GLRY2HM. “Glory to Him”
You are all probably quite aware that I am, in no way, a firm adherent to traditional Judeo-Christian religion. Hell, I’m a firm adherent to NOTHING traditional, but the bugling forth of the vehicle’s driver’s beliefs got me thinking.
According to Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus said:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
In being so public and so blatant about their beliefs, we already know that the Audi’s driver was, at least, not following one of the exhortations of Jesus.
In Act 3, Scene 2 of Hamlet, the Queen says, “The lady doth protests too much, methinks.”
I am not trying to equate the words of Shakespeare with those of Jesus, regardless of how nontraditional my beliefs are. Shakespeare was a genius, but he wasn’t holy. However it is a common phenomenon of human psychology to be skeptical of someone who is volubly fervent about ANYthing. (Or maybe it’s just me. I’m a dyed in the wool cynic after all. 🙂 )
So it struck me that, in so blatantly advertising their belief in the One True God, the Audi’s driver may not have been the pious Christian person that they thought they were. Or hoped they were.
Andrew was the one that brought up the idea of it being a sycophantic sort of gesture… “Since I’m displaying the depths of my belief in such a public fashion, You must know that I believe, right Lord?” “I believe so much that I want the world to know how much!”
Making me wonder whether or not that truly, deep in their heart, the Audi’s driver really does have questions about their own beliefs. The people that I have known that have had a true, deep belief have been, well, quiet about it.
I can think of five people that I have known as an adult who really are sure about their faith (at least, that is, five Christians). None of those five are the type of people who would trumpet their beliefs to the world.
Debate with you about the specifics of their religion? Sure, without a question.
Have religious displays in their homes at religious holidays? Absolutely.
Some even are people who will incorporate symbols of their faith in their daily dress. How many people do you know that wear a crucifix as a regular part of their costume?
And yet none of the five true believers that I know are the type that would advertise their beliefs in such a blatant fashion. No bumper stickers, no overly religious answering machine messages, none of them even have a Jesus fish on the back of their cars.
Which is what makes me wonder whether it is cynicism about human nature or simply sour grapes on my part because I don’t have the part of my brain that allows me to receive the Word of God that makes me think that my faith, whatever it may be, is probably more genuine than that of the Audi’s driver.