Last week I saw a story on Facebook:
A man went to church. He forgot to switch off his phone, which rang loudly during the prayer.
After church was over, the pastor scolded him for not turning off his phone before coming into church. A number of worshipers admonished him after the prayer for interrupting the silence.
In addition, the man’s wife kept lecturing him all the way home about his thoughtlessness and insensitivity. He felt ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated.
After that incident, he never again returned to the church.
That same evening, the same man went to a bar. He was still upset, nervous, and trembling. He accidentally spilled his drink on the table and on his lap.
Although the spill wasn’t his fault, he waiter apologized, brought a clean napkin for the man to dry his pants, and politely wiped the spilled drink from the table.
The janitor came and mopped up the liquid that had spilled on the floor.
The lady who managed the bar offered him a replacement drink … at no charge.
The manager also gave the man a huge hug and a peck on the cheek, while saying, “Don’t worry, sir. Who doesn’t make mistakes?”
And guess what? That man has not stopped going to that bar since his experience that night.
The moral of this story is obvious. Whether you’re manager of a bar or pastor of a church, people need and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
Demonstrating care and concern for people in, of all places, the church, goes a long way toward encouraging people to return to receive what really counts–proclamation of God’s forgiving love in Jesus Christ our Lord.