After hearing numerous stories about churchgoers who are rude to waiters at Sunday lunch, the pastor of Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport, Tennessee set up a website called "Sundays Are The Worst." Here those who work in service industries can anonymously tell their stories of abuse at the hands of Christians.
Some of them are truly shameful. A Christian who had to wait tables on Sundays to pay her college tuition notes "a certain attitude I often encountered that if I was working on a Sunday I must obviously be a godless heathen unworthy of even common courtesy." A white water rafting guide complains about customers who tip him with a pamphlet about salvation that looks like a $20 bill. "This will not pay my rent," he wants to tell them.
Another person writes about customers dressed in Sunday church clothes who are "rude, obnoxious, selfish, and downright mean." The writer adds, "I am a Christian but watching people act like this what kinda message are we sending about going to church and being a Christian?" One pastor was demanding and rude to his waiter, then placed 35 cents in his hand, quoted "silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give to you," and drove away in "his shiny Cadillac."
Here's the flip side of the issue: scientific studies indicate that Christians on the whole are good tippers. According to one report, "the vast majority of Christians tipped at or above the normative 15 percent of bill size." In fact, the more frequently people attend worship, the less likely they are to penalize wait staff for perceived poor service.
How do we reconcile such findings with the perception that believers are so rude to servers? To me, this fact is clear: one cruelty outweighs a hundred kindnesses.
Think about your own experiences. How many compliments do you remember the week after you receive them? How many insults? I can still quote an especially cruel statement made to me in high school. Pain endures in our memories long after happiness fades. A rude Christian in a restaurant injures the cause of Christ more than 30 kind Christians advance it.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Please share them in our comments section. And remember that in a culture growing ever more hostile to the gospel, it is more imperative than ever that Christians demonstrate the relevance of our faith by our love. The "works of the flesh" include "enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger," but the first "fruit of the Spirit" is love (Galatians 5:21, 22).
Fruit reveals the kind of tree that produced it. Which tree do you want to be today?
Publication date: March 14, 2014