The Meaningless Fish

You see a lot of bumper stickers, logos, brand names, and team spirit stickers of all kinds on just about every vehicle on the road today – any thing from the inane to the profound. I find the car with multiple stickers on it usually contradicts itself; a car with a “Leave no child a dime” sticker and an election sticker for a tax-and-spend candidate for example. I have no problem with this. It’s a free country so please, express yourself and your views; that is what so many have given their lives for, so that you may freely speak what’s on your mind. The only one that really gets my ire up is that infernal fish emblem; I don’t have a problem with the emblem, the statement it’s making, or the religion it represents, I have a problem with the vast majority of the people who put those on their car.

Hypocrites, mostly.

In my mind, that little fish emblem is proclaiming to the World that you are a God fearing believer in Jesus, that you are a follower of His teaching and, therefore, you honor and obey the law. How is it that these are the people I notice most running stop signs, red lights, and blowing by me at 85 in a 55 zone? Their cars, as with so many others out there, seem to have come without the optional turn signals or their turn signals are wired backwards. When traffic is backed up on the express way, they will zip past traffic by driving on the shoulder. When traffic is moving slowly and you need to merge, they are quick to close a gap so you can’t get in – to me, they might as well just give me the finger.

For a group of people who follow the person who put everyone and everyone’s needs before Himself and His needs, they certainly are self-centered and self-serving. Take, for example, a recent encounter I had with an elderly woman who’s car had a flat tire. I was driving home from work, tired and wanting nothing more than to get home when I spotted a car on the sholder of the express way. I could tell the rear, passenger side tire was flat even a half mile away. The car to my left and two cars ahead of me each had a fish in one form or another on their cars. Did they stop to help? No. As I got closer, I made the decision to stop and fix her tire. It took maybe five minutes of my time and helped her when it appeared that no one else would.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way perfect or selfless. Two days later I saw a car with a flat tire in the exact same place and didn’t stop. I made all kinds of excuses in my mind – she had a cell phone, she was young, I’m more tired today – whatever the excuse was, I wish now I had stopped to help but I didn’t. The other extreme is the “fishy” people who do stop, not to help – NO – to berate those who also don’t stop to help. I’m serious. Again, I was on the express way in heavy traffiic, up ahead there was a stalled car in the right lane with two people pushing it onto the shoulder and a third person standing by his fish-emblemed car yelling at the cars that were driving by that they should stop and help. I’m not kidding. Instead of stopping and helping, his “selfless” act was to put a guilt trip on the people who didn’t stop. What about the two guys pushing the car? They were a couple of Mexicans in a rusty old pickup truck – no fish.

My point isn’t really people who speed or who don’t help with flat tires or who lay a guilt trip on others, it’s that if you want to declare your faith and the beliefs that go with that faith, you better back it up with your actions or you’re nothing more than a hypocrite. That’s why you will not find a fish emblem on my car, not because I don’t believe in God but because I know I’m imperfect and human and that I have made some really bad choices and big mistakes – in short, I’m just another sinner like everyone else and capable of anything. If I fall, fine; I’m only human. If I have a selfless moment, great! I’ll move on and hope it happens again. Regardless of my being selfless from time to time and in a world that already has a scrutinous eye on religion and, especially, the Christian faiths, I’m not going to put a fish on my car and give the World a reason to persecute believers even more.