I was sitting in the parking lot of our local CVS pharmacy, waiting for my son’s girlfriend to get her prescription. I was smoking a cigar and talking to my son, when an old lady and her friend came over and made a disrespectful comment about my cigar, and tried to give me one of her religious pamphlets. From the looks of it, it was obvious she was a Jehovah’s Witness. She started in on me telling me God doesn’t want me smoking cigars. I asked her how she knows God doesn’t smoke cigars. She told me that would be impossible.
I asked her if she believed the Bible. She assured me that she did. I told her in Exodus 20, it says that God descended on Mt. Sinai, and the text says that Mt. Sinai was smoking. She said that’s not what it means. I said it’s what it says. Then I told her in Isaiah 6, the prophet had a vision of the Lord in the Holy Temple. She nodded her head. I pointed out that the text says that when the Lord’s Presence entered the Temple, the temple was filled with smoke. She said it wasn’t about cigars.
I then asked her what she would do when she stands before God, if God WAS smoking a cigar. After all, whats it going to do, give him cancer? She admitted that a cigar can’t hurt God.
I politely informed her that the Bible does not speak one word against cigars, but it says a lot about not eating certain foods, like pork and shellfish. She told me she doesn’t eat them.
She started to tell me what the bible teaches, and I told her that what the Bible says, and what she thinks it means are two different things, and she didn’t need to tell me what the bible says, because I teach Bible on a graduate level. She put it down saying that I get paid for it, so it’s not valid, and asked what I do with what I know. I told her I work to feed elderly holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe and Israel. She was quiet for a moment and tried to give me her tract again. I told her to keep it, She said I should remember her when I have cancer and left.
When I think about her rudeness, I observed how being overbearing is such a lousy witness. Throughout our discussion, I kept smiling, and was pleasant, even when she insinuated that my service for God was for money, and therefore invalid. Telling me I was going to have cancer was like cursing me, and I didn’t receive it, but I still was cordial to her. Even when tempted to take her pamphlet and relight my cigar with it, I didn’t.
I thought about her rude behavior, and thought that she will never reach anyone that way, and that fact alone gave me a good feeling.