Recently, I came across a blog post that was written about walk in love. in an unsavory way. It confidently proclaimed that we only use perfect people as models, only do walk in love. to make money and don't really care about Jesus. I also saw a comment on Instagram that had a similar sentiment while searching the hashtag #walkinlove. Brooke can attest that both the blog, the comment and comments like this always affect me. I know that the accusations contained in these posts aren't true, but it's very hard to read that someone would write-off walk in love. with such little knowledge about the amount of energy, work and dedication my team and I put into it everyday. So, I thought I would take a few minutes and address some of the misconceptions, which are few and far between, about walk in love.
The money thing:
I have seen a few comments about us not using any of our profits to support non-profits, charities, etc. Let me make something very clear. We (walk in love.) are very generous with our money, but you will never really find a declaration of that generosity anywhere on our website or social media. The reason for that is because of something Jesus says in Matthew 6,
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
We like the idea of people buying and supporting our products because they like our products. We aren't a non-profit, organization or ministry. We are a business. And we want to succeed by being a business. We want to sell great products that people love and want to share with other people.
Furthermore, I don't see the problem with any business not donating it's money if that's what they choose. We choose to donate; however, we also choose not to make a big deal of it.
For those of you making the false accusations about what we do with our money, let me ask you a few questions. Do you give away your money? Are you looking at the speck in our eye without removing the plank from yours? Do you ask your Christian-plumber or Christian-mechanic what he is going to do with the money before he fixes your pipes or car? Why then do you feel the need to ask that of walk in love?
My parents did a great job teaching me to be generous and my wife and I try to practice that generosity as often as we can. We use walk in love. as an extension of that generosity not only in what we simply give away, but in providing great jobs for well deserving, amazing, hardworking people! We also promote giving within our team. We constantly challenge our team to give away part of their paycheck every time we hand them out. I think something better than a company giving away money is the entire staff of a company trusting God and digging into their own pockets to give without hesitation.
I do want walk in love. to make lots of money... because you can do some amazing things for Jesus with money. One of the companies I look up to most is Chick-Fil-A, because of all they have been able to do for Jesus through their business. They have taken a great business that sells an amazingly delicious product and turned it to center of love and giving. I believe a lot of christians have this mentality that money is evil, and if you desire to make it then you are evil. You can follow Jesus and make money. You just always have to make sure that Jesus is first. And that is something we always try to do at walk in love.
The "perfect model" thing:
There were a few lines in the blog post I mentioned earlier that actually made me laugh out loud because of their sheer outrageousness. One was:
"Is this what the Kingdom is supposed to look like?” NO! These people are perfect, beautiful, and hip. These are not the people Christ identified with, and yet, these are the very people at the forefront of Christianity making it seem cool and hip."
The blogger was referring to a Christmas look book video that we shot a few years ago. The video included most of our team, our siblings, a few friends and a couple of fans of walk in love. that responded to a model call. This is how every walk in love. shoot works. We use friends, family, team members and fans. Are some of these people really good looking? Yes! Are some of them skinny? Yes! Are some of them the most beautiful woman in the world? Yes, that's my wife Brooke! Are these people perfect? No. And we would never say that they are! Do we make an effort to make what we do look professional and happy? Heck yes we do! We want to promote the pure joy that comes with following Jesus and we want it to look really good.
My wife, the creative director and photographer behind walk in love., has been given an amazing gift with a camera. She uses that gift to shoot all that we do in hopes that at some point someone may be drawn to a photo she has taken. Her hope is that, just maybe, someone who liked a photo of hers could end up on our website, see we love Jesus and look into who He is. We always want people to end with Jesus. If they start by reading a shirt, or seeing an Instagram or watching a video that is great, but we want them to end with Jesus. God has a great ability to use silly things like photos, Instagram and T-shirts to draw people to him. Remember that time He used a burning bush, a weirdo preacher in the dessert wearing camel skin or a teenage virgin? Our hope is that God will use what we do in that same way to glorify His amazing love and draw people to Him. If you believe that God can't use that I feel bad for you. I feel bad for the small little box you've put God's power in.
The other thing that really bothers me about the statement above is the idea that if you are attractive, skinny or visual pleasing you aren't someone Christ identifies with. Whether you look like super model or Quasi-motto you are welcome into the kingdom of God by asking Jesus into your life. That is the only prerequisite. He doesn't care what you look like.
The "exploiting Jesus" or "materialism" thing:
Some have accused walk in love. of exploiting Jesus for personal gain. We've been told that we are no different then the people that Jesus ran out of the temple with a whip. We have been told that we promote materialism and exploit Jesus for a profit. Those aren't easy comments to receive and most of the time I think people just like being mean.
I will answer those accusations by telling my testimony.
My name is T.J. Mousetis and I am 28 years old. I was born in a christian household and raised to follow and live for Jesus my whole life. I did until I was about fifteen and got drunk off some wine at my friends house. I decided that type of lifestyle would be a little more fun than Sunday church and youth group, so I said, "BRB Jesus, I am going to have some fun". I did some more drinking, tried some drugs, chased girls, looked at porn and did whatever I wanted. That left me feeling empty, broken and alone in this world. Years later, as I was laying in bed in my college dorm room in Philadelphia, I heard God speak to me. He said, "It's time to stop having sex. It's time to stop living the way you are living. It's time to come back." I got out of my bed, rode my bike to my girlfriend's apartment, broke up with her and decided to surrender all to Jesus. As I started to figure out who Jesus really was I fell in love with Him. I find myself falling in love with Him more and more each day. My wife can attest that anytime I hear, read or watch a story of redemption I cry. The reason I cry is because I have seen and felt that redemption in a very real way. I have seen my brokenness, sin and shame and watched it all be wiped away. Even as I type I can't help but get choked up at the thought of what my beautiful God did for me.
After my life started to change, I started to give more and more of myself to Jesus. I knew that whatever I did with my life I wanted Him to be a big part of it! I honestly had no idea that would end up designing and selling t-shirts. At the time I was giving my life over I wanted to go on a mission trip with my dad. The trip was to Russia and it would take some fundraising. I decided I wanted to sell some shirts with the phrase "walk in love." on them to raise said money. And just like that, walk in love. was born.
It was born from a desire to follow the Savior of the universe. It wasn't born from an idea to make money or promote materialism. I started walk in love. because I love Jesus! I love him and want everyone to feel His amazing love. I want people to put on a walk in love. shirt and be reminded of the great love of our Savior. I don't just want one or two people to feel that way. I want hundreds, thousands and millions of people to feel that way. I want millions of people to feel the love of Jesus and if my shirts can do that, then I will be honored and blessed to be used in such a way.
I know that people are going to think what they want about walk in love. and jump to conclusions regardless of what we do or how we do it. And sadly, I know that there is probably very little I can do about that. Some people just like to complain, attack and judge. I also know that I will not run a perfect company. Like you and like our models I am not perfect. I make mistakes and can be foolish. I may make a decision that you disagree with. My hope though is that at times you can extend some grace and not write us off because of a single post or decision. I hope that you know that we will always try our very best to keep Christ at the center of what we do and how we do it. I, as the owner, will always try to listen to His voice, follow His word and walk in love.