When I give someone my patronage, I want to feel like a queen entering her throne room with all the loyal subjects genuflecting to me. Important. Appreciated. Respected. When you own a business or an establishment, the way you make people feel is important to the reputation of your customer service. You want clients to not only continue their business with you, but also to share with their network that you make the customer feel important and valued. Nowadays, it is extra important to provide this type of experience or you may get a harsh review on social media for not being hospitable enough!
Recently, a business has delivered very poor customer service to me over the last 8 weeks. I have been severely disappointed in the way they have treated me and my desire to work with them. No queen vibes, no trumpets blasting. Consequently, I have been less than excited about our interactions. As a matter of fact, I believe I have said on more than one occasion “I am DONE with them!” However, I am stuck with them.
In the midst of my angst, I have also been challenged. I think this is one of the best and worst things about following Jesus: He pricks our hearts when we aren’t behaving the way He would like to be represented. I never want someone to leave an encounter with me and not feel the love and hospitality of the Jesus I claim to follow. I wish I could say that I am batting 1.000 with my efforts, but I know for a fact that I have disappointed and hurt people, or been rude and disrespectful. Most of the time, that is not my intention, but if I’m being honest, I have been in situations where I really didn’t care if I was not “being my best self.” I can excuse that bad attitude all day long – they were disrespectful first; I didn’t feel well or was tired; I was in a hurry, etc. With the previously described business relationship, I am losing my grip on “letting Jesus shine through.”
When I feel I am on the receiving end of rudeness, Jesus reminds me that He was treated worse (MUCH worse), and yet He remained gentle and respectful. Sometimes I am His offending party. And yet He is gentle. And patient. And loving. In Luke 9:52-56, Jesus and His disciples were not received well by some Samaritans. James and John asked if they could rain fire down on them for their disrespect. I occasionally wish their idea was an option. Jesus, however, rebuked them! I can imagine Him saying, “Really?! Fire?! What if I rained fire on YOU when you were ill-tempered toward someone?” I tend to appreciate Jesus’s gentleness and restraint with the fire-rain when I am on the giving end of rudeness.
When Pharisees mocked Jesus for eating with sinners, He didn’t yell and scream at them, He simply explained, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”(Luke 5:31) And to those who screamed for Him to be crucified, and put the nails in His sinless, gentle, hands and feet, He did not curse them back, but rather interceded for them by praying, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34)
Jesus was nailed to a cross and was gentle with those not gentle with Him, and I can’t let a little disrespect roll off my back? Perhaps a little reevaluation is necessary of the power I gain through life in Jesus Christ. Through Him, I am able to get rid of my sinful tendencies of self-focus and anger, and produce the things that bring Him glory – like gentleness – which is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit of Christ! (Galatians 5:22)
Gentleness is not weakness; it is a sign of strength and reveals a deep inner peace. When we show gentleness to those around us, even if they are not offering that to us, we are showing the love and compassion of Christ. The SAME love and compassion that He gives us.
If we want others to act more like Jesus, perhaps they need to see more of Him in us. I have heard it said that people don’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. If we make them feel like Jesus loves them no matter what, perhaps they will want more of Him.