Mis-identification Can Have Consequences–Good or Bad


If my younger brother and I had both been football coaches, we’d probably call each other sometime on Saturdays to discuss how things went at the games on Friday night. 

As it is, since both of us are pastors, we often check in with each other on Sunday evenings for post-service analysis just to make sure neither of us was injured by a sermon that landed badly and that no one in either congregation was thrown into a potentially fatal coma by a sermon that seemed like it would never land at all. So last Sunday evening it wasn’t unusual that Jim and I were on the phone discussing the day.

But I was surprised when he asked me if I’d bought something at La-Z-Boy Furniture in Amarillo last weekend.

Well, yes, I replied. I’d done a “concert” at my mother-in-law’s assisted living home on Friday afternoon, and we’d stayed over to watch our granddaughter Brenley’s first T-ball game. Post-game activities included brunch at McDonald’s, and, as fate would have it, the La-Z-Boy store was next door.

We had at home a perfectly good twelve-year-old recliner. Yes, it had popped a spring recently, but I’d created a pseudo-spring with a ratcheting tie-down strap. I thought it was good for another twelve years, but that was not the prevailing view. So, La-Z-Boy, here we come!

Jim wasn’t there. He wasn’t even in town on Saturday. How’d he know I’d been dragged into a furniture store?

The short answer is that it’s hard to hide the fact that we’re brothers. I’m always a little surprised by this, but it’s happened before. Some folks, friends of his, were also at the store, saw me, did a double-take, and tried to figure out if I was Jim, looking a little better than usual, to be sure, and younger and more ruggedly handsome, but maybe Jim on a particularly good day. (He didn’t put it that way, but I’m sure that’s what they said.)

Jim’s friends had decided I wasn’t him when they also saw some little people who were obviously my grandkids. The kids were playing on remote-control recliners and campaigning that we buy such. Nope. We avoided the electric chairs. I hope the new recliner I’m sitting in now is good for thirty years. When I purchase a piece of furniture, I buy hoping that I’ll do it right and thus never have to do it again.

But the near miss in identification, me almost being ID’d as Jim, got me thinking. If I decide to rob a liquor store (or what some consider worse, actually buy a nice pinot noir in one), it probably shouldn’t be in Amarillo if I love my brother.

Carrying the logic on out a ways, since Christians are supposed to be, as the original word implied, “little Christs,” people who look like the Lord, act like the Lord, have attitudes like the Lord’s, well, let’s hope folks can look at us and actually be on target when they think we look a whole lot like Him.

In the meantime, if you see me doing something despicable, be assured it’s not really me. It’s Jim.



Copyright 2012 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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