Jack McNielThe Christian Life

Bumper Sticker Hypocrisy

I am continually in a state of shock at the rudeness of some drivers. It seems that people think that the very laws of nature change when they get behind the wheel. They seem to think that the universe suddenly begins to revolve around them when theyÔÇÖre on the highway. With some people you just naturally expect them to be rude. With others, it comes as a complete surprise. This second group I call ÔÇ£bumper stickerÔÇØ hypocrites.

Have you ever noticed all the bumper stickers with inscriptions such as ÔÇ£My Boss is a Jewish CarpenterÔÇØ, ÔÇ£Got Jesus?ÔÇØ, or my favorite ÔÇ£In Case of Rapture This Car Will Be EmptyÔÇØ? Have you also noticed some of the different window decals and tailgate ornaments that depict a fish, or a fish swallowing the ÔÇ£DarwinÔÇØ fish with legs, or the picture of a little boy (the same little boy that you usually see on pickup windows relieving himself upon a Ford, Chevy or Dodge logo) kneeling before a cross? Have you ever been cut off by a rude driver, and when his minivan slows down in front of you, you can read his ÔÇ£What Would Jesus Do?ÔÇØ bumper sticker? Ever been ÔÇ£flipped offÔÇØ by a woman with a fish on her bumper? Have you ever been driving the speed limit and watched a car pass you like youÔÇÖre standing still and then driven a little further and read his ÔÇ£Got Jesus?ÔÇØ bumper sticker while the Highway Patrol has him pulled over?

How about this one? One time I was in line at a convenience store and the man in front of me was buying several cases of beer. He left and then I bought my cup of coffee and as I was leaving the store, I saw the same man stocking the ice chest in the back of his pickup with beer. Can you guess what his bumper sticker read? ÔÇ£In Case of Rapture This Car Will Be EmptyÔÇØ! Of course, there will be no ÔÇ£rapture,ÔÇØ but even still if I was to see his truck moving erratically down the road I would not think that the rapture had come and that his truck was driverless, but rather I would think that he had been drinking the beer from his ice chest.

So what does all this mean? Whats the big deal here? I find it interesting that people feel the need to advertise their spirituality by displaying these types of religious symbols and phrases on their cars. Isnt ironic how some people profess by the bumper sticker that they are spiritual, yet drive like the devil? I am reminded of Jesus scathing remarks about the hypocrites for their similar displays of spirituality. In Matthew 6:5 and 6:16, Jesus condemns such displays of outward spirituality in the avenues of public prayers and fasting. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Jesus was not condemning the act of praying or fasting, but the hypocritical attitude possessed by those who want to appear spiritual. The motive behind spiritual things must always be to the glorification of God, not the glorification of self.

So why do so many people have these types of stickers and ornaments on their cars? Is it because they are truly spiritual or because they want to appear to be so out of another motive? Of course, not everyone who puts these things on their car is insincere. Nevertheless, would they not do better to show their spirituality in other ways? If we are to truly be spiritual and glorify our Father in Heaven then we ought to show it by our actions and not simply by putting on a sticker. If we let our light shine through our chaste and pure lives, showing our devotion to God in obedience to His will, then truly He will be glorified and we will be justified.