Since most of you will read this column before Saturday, be forewarned that April 1 is right around the corner. Since that day has been designated “April Fools Day” for as long as I can remember, it has always been a day when my past experience has told me that I need to be on high alert. I can’t tell you how many times someone has exposed my gullible soul with some prank or hoax that I have fallen for like a house of cards in a spring storm. Even though I try to remind myself that I need to be more skeptical about all claims that come my way, I inevitably let down my guard and wind up playing the fool.
Of course, playing the fool can actually become a spiritual discipline, if we play the role in the right way. Instead of being gullible, we can treat others by showing them trust and respect. And if in the process they end up disappointing us, it’s not because we did anything to bring it about; it’s more the case that our stance toward them exposed their lack of integrity, not ours. When the time comes that people can’t fully be confident in what others say to us, our culture is in real trouble. Maybe that’s why Jesus encouraged his disciples to let our “yes be yes” and our “no be no,” warning us that “anything more than these is from the evil one” (Mt. 5:37).
As we near Holy Week, now is the time for us to get serious about living our faith with earnestness and sincerity. Now is the time for us to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (Jas. 1:22). While every season demands such a serious witness, this season finds folk open to the claims of Christian faith, and if they can see in us the difference that it makes in everyday life, the more open they will become to the possibilities of confessing Christ themselves.
So, let your guard down and let your faith show. The only thing you have to lose is your pride, which ironically is from Jesus’ vantage point from the cross the silliest thing we could hold on to anyway. It was his humility, after all, that removes our shame, redeems our sin, and results in our eternal joy.
“We are fools for Christ’s sake” (I Cor. 4:10).