I recently read a story that really caught my attention in a new way. It brings to light truths that I already knew, but just hadn’t seen in this way before. This story seems to have been around for a while, and I’m not even sure if it’s from a true story, but I saw it for the first time when a fellow minister (Rev. S. Wallace) shared it to his Facebook page.
Maybe you’ve read it before. The story is as follows:
A man went to church. He forgot to switch off his phone, and it rang during prayer. The pastor scolded him. The worshipers admonished him after prayers for interrupting the silence. His wife kept on lecturing him on his carelessness all the way home. One could see the shame, embarrassment, and humiliation on his face. After all this, he never stepped foot in the church again.
That evening, he went to a bar. He was still nervous and trembling. He spilled his drink on the table by accident. The waiter apologized and gave him a napkin to clean himself. The janitor mopped the floor. The female manager offered him a complimentary drink. She also gave him a huge hug and a peck on the cheek while saying, “Don’t worry man. Who doesn’t make mistakes?”. He has not stopped going to that bar since then.
After reading this story I purposed in my heart, with God’s help, to go out and treat people better than they would be treated at a bar. When I see someone whom I can invite to church, I will say to myself, “Treat them better than the bar treats them”. When I see someone new come to the house of God, I will say “Treat them better than the bar treats them”.
Obviously, there are boundaries to this. I don’t have to give them an alcoholic drink or a kiss on the cheek, as in the story above. And I recognize that not everyone wants to be treated better or will stick around, but I can show them the love of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and leaves them feeling more loved than any of those things ever could!
Make no mistake, we are in competition with the world. Not in the form of being the most entertaining and trying to draw people that way, but in the form of making people feel wanted. The world makes people feel wanted so they’ll stay and spend more money. God wants us to make them feel wanted and loved so they’ll learn to love God, who first loved them (1 John 4:19).
The takeaway of the story is that people respond negatively when treated negatively, and they respond positively when treated positively.
How do you treat people? Will you take on the personal challenge to treat people better than they are treated at a bar?