Pardon Me, Your Ichthus Is Showing

by Larry Hehn on July 24, 2010

HaJesus fish ichthusve you ever been embarrassed to see somebody’s ichthus?

Not too long ago I was sitting in my car, stopped at a traffic light on my way home. Two vehicles were idling ahead of mine, also waiting for the light to change to green. Immediately in front of me was a mini-van with an ichthus fastened to its back end – or as I’ve heard it called, a “Jesus fish”.

“Ichthus” means “fish” in Greek. It is a symbol of Christianity that dates back to the first century. As noted in Christianity Today magazine, “the symbol is still used today to show that the bearer is a practicing Christian.”

Though the mini-van carried the mark of a practicing Christian, the behavior of its driver did not. As soon as the traffic light turned green, the mini-van driver impatiently and needlessly blasted his horn at the hapless car in front of him. As they crossed the intersection he screeched his tires, veered to the right, sped past the front car, darted back to the left across two lanes of traffic, then barrelled out of sight. There is no reason for anyone to be so rude when they drive, especially when they claim to be a Christian.

It got me thinking – I hope people don’t judge Jesus Christ by those of us who claim to be his ambassadors, because we don’t always do a very good job of representing him. For thousands of years, people have done things in his name that do not reflect his character or his teaching. Some of the things make reckless driving seem pretty tame in comparison.

If you are not a Christian I ask, for your benefit, that you look beyond the tainted and misguided efforts of the so-called “followers” and continue to seek a relationship with the one we strive and/or claim to follow. There is only one true Christian role model, and that is Jesus himself. Everyone else falls short (Romans 3:23).

For those who are Christians, let’s do our best to live up to our calling as ambassadors of Christ (Colossians 3:17), and be humble enough to ask forgiveness when we fall short. Remember that the lights are always on, and the camera is always rolling. Even when our ichthus isn’t showing.

When have you encountered – or been – a “Christian” that was less than exemplary?

How did that affect your – or others’ – attitude toward Jesus?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Willard July 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm

This is why I don’t have one on my car. While I do like them (the Ichthus), I can’t tell you how many times I have had a poor driver do something ‘less than brilliant’ around me while out and then speed away, all with a nice little fish on their trunk. I’m not looking for permission to drive poorly or anything to that matter. I just don’t want the first thing people see, as I drive away, something that also says my ‘code of ethics’ is questionable. I’m not perfect either, Christian or not.


Larry Hehn July 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm

So true, Andrea. It just hit me that we would do well to observe the “Jesus fish” as a reminder of our need for God’s grace rather than some sort of status symbol. Thanks for sharing!


Julia Sherman March 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Good day to you. God has given us a beautiful day today for work here in the High Desert of California. I relocated to this area last year to live with my son & granddaughter. I can’t afford to buy the Christian reading like I used to, so i thank you for this inspirational site. Now that my son’s health is somewhat better, I’ve been looking for work. I haven’t had much, so I decided to make up some flyers. I babysit, clean houses, do yardwork, and haul trash, anything to help us get by. I happened upon your website as I was looking online for an ichthus that I could print on my flyers, as I would like people to know at a glance that I am a hardworking honest Christian woman. My flyers will be given to Realtors & homeowners that may need things repaired, or cleaned, or painted in & on their property before they are offered for sale or rent. And so, may I ask, is your ichthus on the rocks picture copyrighted? I love the natural look of it-perfect- as God said “on this rock…” Thank you, Julia Sherman


Larry Hehn March 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Julia. I’m glad you stopped by! Yes, I really like this ichthus image too. It took me a long time to find it. It came from iStockphoto. Here’s the link to the image at that site:

I use iStockphoto for most of the images here at Christian in the Rough. For a nominal fee you can purchase a license for the image from them that will allow you to use it.

I hope this helps! Many blessings to you and your family!


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