When I finally went back to school shopping last week, quite overdue, I went straight to my favorite store, Forever 21.
I’ve been shopping there since middle school and I thought I knew the place inside and out. I definitely didn’t expect to discover something new on this trip. But as the cashier bagged my cute new dress, I noticed small black writing on the bottom of the bag.
I took a closer look and realized the bag said John 3:16. I recognized this immediately as one of the most popular bible verses of all time, “That God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
My first reaction was, “Wow! That’s so cool that they’re using their company to spread the Word!”
I then thought about how shocking it was for me to see the verse printed on the bag. If the store owners had already been showing their faith through their actions, I wouldn’t have been that surprised.
The verse didn’t make sense there because it contradicted so many other things about the store. Forever 21 has inexpensive prices, mostly due to the cheap labor it outsources from third world countries. It’s also the store many girls will buy their incredibly immodest party dresses from.
The more I thought about it, the more the verse bothered me. It was as if the owners of the store were trying to do their part solely by spreading God’s message, in a very discreet way, mind you; I shopped there for years before noticing the verse.
To me, this public statement of faith seems hypocritical and makes the fact that the store buys into the “sex sells” mindset of our country and doesn’t treat workers justly even more disgusting. Not only do they do all of this, but they do it in the name of Christ.
The bible says “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). I think this is a message the owners of Forever 21, and the rest of our society, needs to take to heart. Actions always speak louder than words.