As Sean, Sara, and I have traveled England and Scotland these last two weeks, we’ve been very conscious of how Americans are being perceived by citizens of other countries at the moment. When the actors performing Macbeth at The Globe Theater in London ad-lib commentary on the current political situation in the United States. it’s a sharp lesson in how closely the world is watching us.

We reminded the students of this close scrutiny, so they could be prepared for harsh remarks. We also pointed out that they had the opportunity to change people’s perceptions of Americans by being polite, friendly, and warm in their dealings with everyone they encountered. And they certainly didn’t want to be that one American that soured someone on our entire country.

As I watched our bright, pleasant students work as effective ambassadors for our country, I wondered how often we miss opportunities to be effective ambassadors for our Lord. How many people have one bad experience at church, or hear one radical statement from a church group, and decide that they know all there is about being a child of God? Those people turn away from the joy of community in Christ because they don’t see an accurate picture of who the children of God are, and what we want to accomplish in the name of our Lord. As the meme says, “What if you’re the only Bible someone ever reads?”

We are blessed to be a community united by love, acceptance, and God’s grace. We need to remember that it is the face of love the world needs to see from us, because that is the face God shines upon us. May we go out into the world each day, ready to speak and live and work and love on His behalf.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Matthew 7:16-20