2 Things We Need to Remember When Interacting with People
I’m basically a waiter: I take food orders for people of varying degrees of health. I have never worked in the food industry before so it’s been a big change. There are many dietary requirements so there is a learning curve for me to know what people are allowed to eat. I believe that it has been going very well, but I am still getting a handle on things and learning the different rhythms within the job.
Besides all of the practical job skills that I am learning, I have been reminded of two things that I would like to share with everyone.
Kindness goes a long way. We should be kind to people just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the whole “do unto others” thing. Being sincere, nice, and kind means a lot to people and is often refreshing. It’s not all an act either. Sometimes I am a little over the top, but I truly want to be a pleasant person in their life when many other things may be going wrong. My stress, anxiety, depression, or bad day does not mean that the person I am there to serve deserves for me to take it out on them, even if they are short with me. People in general, have a tendency to focus on that one unpleasant person when we might interact with 40 nice people in one day, but the one now has ruined it. I try to appreciate every nice people I come in contact with. I think that this is so important. When we are kind and treat others with respect, we build others up and our own lives are positively impacted. It doesn't matter if they are going to treat us right in return. It takes a lot of character to be disrespected and still show respect.
Something that has always bothered me about some people who are pastors or are “in ministry” is when they do not seem human. Whether a pastor has demanded to be elevated or the people have placed the pastor on a pedestal, the gap that is created can make the pastor unrelatable. There is a lot of pressure to be “above reproach” but that often means lying and faking it.
I try to be myself. That’s it. When my involvement with Empty Church comes up, I don’t shy away from talking about what we are up to. I’m not hiding it, but, with that said, I don't push it either. I want it to be natural. I want people to know that I am merely a human on his journey which Christ. I do mess up. I can be rude or crude. And yet my friends and I started something to help ourselves and others learn about ourselves and get to know God better. We have started to achieve this within the group, but now it is time to start helping others as well. How wild is that? I’m just a guy and I get to worship God through blogs, podcasts, and sermons (along with the Sunday liturgy).
Being something I’m not makes me afraid. It makes me afraid when I don't live up to that expectation and that fake world comes crashing down. We see this in pastors who have “moral failures” that destroy ministries. I guess I might be too lenient since most of the time I get very confused why we should even kick them out. I just can’t help but think that we are all doing things that most of the time we would deem “worse” but since the pastor did literally ANYTHING we didn't like suddenly that thing is the big sin. Sometimes it is a “Moses not going into the promised land” type of thing but gosh, we are so terrible to people we once called anointed. “touch not my anointed” but we kick them while they are down.
That rant is to say that I want people to know how messed up I am, so when I mess up they aren't surprised. That is why I am trying so hard to just be me.
Why Should We?
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus makes it pretty clear that doing things or not doing things is the same as doing or not doing them for Him. Those who helped those in need had helped Jesus and those who had not, had not helped Jesus.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
When we are doing the right thing, when we are acting out of love and obedience to Christ, even when we don't realize it, we are doing these things to Jesus and we are being Jesus to those whom we are doing these things. That is why people may reject following Jesus because of how Christians acted towards them.
Why don't we?
How many different sermons have you heard on being the good Samaritan and how everyone is our neighbor, yet nothing changes? How many of us are more like the people who pass by than the Samaritan? These are all things that we know to do but we often allow our feelings and insecurities to drive us to ignore them. We’d rather be liked for a persona than known for who we are, risking rejection. Why does it take being in food service to remind me to treat people with kindness and respect?
This is all kind of a catch 22 anyway. If people KNOW you are doing the “good things” it’s probably because you are broadcasting it to the world through taking selfies with the homeless and putting it on facebook. It is rare for people to notice that you treat people right even when it’s hard. Kindness and respect are kind of like the two sound guys in the back - no one notices them until they aren't there. The thankless job.
So thank you to all the people who have treated me right when I treated them wrong. Thank you to the people who appreciate when people are kind. Thank you to everyone who lets me be myself. And thank you for letting me share.