My son pointed out a “Jesus Fish” on the bumper of the car in front of us and assumed it could, therefore, swim like a fish.
“Then why does it have a fish on the back?”
“Uh…it’s because they pray to Jesus. Like us….”
And now I was sweating…
What I wanted to know was why I had to be prepared to answer philosophical, religious, or moral questions at a moment’s notice while driving home from the YMCA.
I was just trying to get home for dinner with my family on a Wednesday, but now I had to play the role of pastor, philosopher, and historian (while hungry).
I ran through the history of the “Jesus Fish” that I could remember in my head.
According to “Christianity Today,” the fish symbol carried several meanings in the ancient world and was used as a way to covertly identify persecuted Christians to each other.
Today, depending on your worldview, it’s either a subtle symbol for demonstrating your faith in a higher power, or an annoying attempt to convert the heathens behind you at the red light.
At one time, the controversial fish inspired a low-key bumper sticker war between Creationists and Evolutionists. The Jesus Fish led to the Darwin Fish (with legs), which led to the Truth Fish (eating the Darwin Fish), which led to the dinosaur eating the Truth Fish.
It’s messy and complicated, and I wasn’t sure I was the right guy to dive into this with a four-year-old…
And that’s when Eric Church’s “Sinners Like Me” came on the radio, like a sign from God saying that I, indeed, was not qualified for this kind of conversation.
I let Eric Church’s truth wash over me while I gritted my teeth, wondering how to respond. My son’s worldview and understanding of God hung in the balance. Eric Church was singing about sinners while I thought back about all the bad example I’d set for my kid already.
“Why me, Lord?” I mumbled under my breath…
I gave up and started to tell my son that, yes, that car actually can swim through the water like a fish, when Church hit me with the final verse:
“On the day I die I know where I’m gonna go Me and Jesus got that part worked out I’ll wait at the gates til his face I see And stand in a long line of sinners like me I’ll stand in a long line of sinners like me…”
The real truth in “Sinners Like Me” is that it’s not just about me. Jesus came for all of us. My son needed a fellow sinner, like me, to explain this principle.
He’ll make mistakes, just like I do. But forgiveness and redemption wait for those who are looking for it. Finally, I had the right thing to say.