Recently, a friend texted me and another friend saying that she saw a couple at Trader Joe’s wearing hats embroidered with a provocative statement with which she disagreed. She politely walked up to them and engaged them in conversation (this friend is much braver than me), but they were unfortunately not receptive or interested in debating her very valid point. In fact, their reply was a blunt and honest “I don’t care about that.” In her text to us later, she admitted that it is so hard to imagine the gospel of grace really extending to them, too. Oof, ain’t that the truth. I have trouble imagining that the gospel is meant for a LOT of people. (God is much more imaginative than me, of course — hallelujah.)

We started texting back and forth about what our own hats of sin would say, if we were also parading them around Trader Joe’s for all to see. My friend appointed herself a “self-centered b*tch.” For mine, I can’t decide between “needs your validation” and “thinks about what she’s about to say the entire time you’re talking.”

For the sake of this blog post, it doesn’t matter what that couple’s hats said. It isn’t up to us to determine exactly what anyone else’s hat says. It isn’t up to us to determine what anyone else’s sin is — very little, in fact, is “up to us.” It is all completely and fully up to God, who faithfully reveals our sin to each of us, and then meets us there with a mercy that understands the human condition of self-centeredness and conclusively deals with it by way of crucifixion.

In light of this wildly offensive good news, my prayer is that our hats would induce more empathy and connection, and less shame and division. May they give glory to Christ and His imaginative gospel that decisively saves us both from our attempts to pretty up our sin with embroidery thread, as well as from the ugly sin itself. And may our unloving reply “I don’t care about that” be transformed mysteriously and miraculously into a love of our neighbor. Amen.