Some people think it’s free speech, but I wonder if they would feel the same if it said something different. “Death to America,” “I love Clemson” (or USC), or “Mark Sanford is an adulterer,” would all bring different reactions. But when you add “Jesus” to it, somehow people are more accepting of it. Even if it is a childish and silly thing to do. I think that whoever does it, does it because it is a form of “sacred vandalism.” It is a way of being rebellious, but setting up a religious facade. “I was just proclaiming ‘Jesus is Lord.’ What’s wrong with that?” Sort of reminds me of the teenagers who were “Tebowing” in the halls of their high schools a couple of years ago. Ostensibly they were going down on one knee to pray to God. In reality, they were just blocking traffic in the hallways, trying to delay getting to the next class, and wanting to be different without paying much attention to the consequences. Or, in other words, they were being adolescents. A far cry from Jesus’ command, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
Same goes for the graffiti. Sneaking out onto a road when no one is looking and spray painting the word “Jesus” does not make a profession of faith. Nor does it bring anyone closer to Christ, except maybe those who, while reading the graffiti, swerve off the road and towards a power pole.
I have nothing against symbols and signs. I wear a small cross around my neck, not to tell others about my faith, but to remind me that I bear Christ wherever I go. It reminds me that when people see me, that I am representing Jesus. My car tag has “HPUMC” on it, and I often worry that people who see me drive will think “Durn if I want to go t that church.” Or worse yet, a child from our preschool will point t my car on Saturday and say “Mommy, what is Pastor Mike’s car doing at the liquor store?” “He’s just getting ready for Sunday, honey.”
I know lots of people who spend lots of money on Jesus paraphernalia (t-shirts, jewelry, home decorations, car stickers, cds, videos), sometimes more than they spend helping others for whom Jesus died. I have a hard time thinking of Jesus saying, “I was hungry, and you bought a t-shirt with John 3:16 on it.”
I think if I want the words “Jesus is Lord” written anywhere, it should be on my heart, in my mind, in the works of my hands and feet, and prominently on my checkbook (see Matthew 6:21). Anywhere else is just…well…..graffiti.