The photograph around the edges blurs.
Inside of me, though, all emotion stirs
when looking at the portrait. Wedding day
of grandparents shows formal pose that May.
He, dapper, fine, professor-like, and she
in silk, aloof, no smile. What can’t I see
upon that face? She, always secretive,
would never offer, no, would never give
up hints to her persona. We remained
a bit apart from her. Silk-dressed, she trained
us well in manners and obedience.
I always wished that she’d let loose and dance!
Our grandpa played with us, provided fun,
but Grandma frowned. “Of this I will have none.”
For the past 20 years, my husband has worked in the restaurant business. Recently, he and my daughter, who also works in the industry, have been telling me about a phenomena that makes me feel sad, and quite honestly, angry. Like anywhere in our lives, we are going to run into all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. We are all familiar with people cutting us off in traffic, the occasional obscene finger gestures thrown our way from a passing window, the rude comments from people in stores, the callous service we get from restaurant servers…the list goes on and on…
This new thing, though, is particularly disheartening. My husband and daughter hate it when the “Christians” come in to their restaurant. Armed with Bibles under their arms, they gather at the restaurant for Bible Study. They throw about God Bless You’s at the same time they complain about prices. They boldly ask for things for free, or act surprised that there would be a charge for the extras they have asked for. They loudly preach to their audience about Jesus’s love, and yet they steal…that’s right…steal sweeteners and napkins, and whatever else that isn’t nailed down. Their orders are never right, not that it could possibly be their fault, and the employees are treated like second-class citizens. After taking up tables for extremely large periods of time, they leave nothing in way of compensation for their servers, but leave their tables totally thrashed, as if it is their right to have others clean up after them. The employees hate to see them coming.
Sometimes I want so badly to go in on the nights these “holy” people come in and ask them what exactly their goal is. If the goal is to have some sort of exclusive country-club membership to a God club, then kudos…well done. No one wants to be in your God Gang. Maybe you could spread your elitist, self-serving agenda at some other restaurant. Evidently, the spirit of the Pharisees and the Sadducee‘s is alive and well in America today.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How do you propose to show Jesus to those around you when your actions are so demeaning, rude, arrogant, and self-serving? What is your purpose in the Kingdom of God? Are you a representative of Jesus, or are you using Christianity to further your own goals?
We should always assume people will be watching us when we least expect it. And it is of no consequence to God whether or not we think someone is worthy to be in our “club”. The girl taking your order at a drive-thru or the homeless man begging on the corner…both were created in God’s image, no more and no less than you or me. … This isn’t about club membership. It is about life and death, heaven and hell. It is war-time, with satan leading a very skilled attack on every aspect of our lives every single day. You’re a tool — we all are. But you should know who’s wielding you.
I completely understand that as Christians, we all have to start somewhere. And I emphatically agree with Bible studies. But my question is aimed at the leaders of these Bible studies. It would seem to me that if you are ready to teach other Christians, you’d be more sensitive to how your behaviors will reflect on your God. We are known by our fruits, are we not? We aren’t going to be perfect, but we should remember who we are representing….
What good is all of these theological discussions on Adam’s belly button if just eating a meal at a restaurant drives people away from God??
If you aren’t helping us, then you’re hurting us. If saving souls isn’t your goal, there are some serious questions you should be asking yourself.