I’m terrible at customer service.
No, really. In the last two years, I’ve discovered I don’t have a knack for making people feel understood when they don’t get what they want…which is why I handed over complaints and comments to someone on our staff who is a lot nicer.
But the other day, I accidentally intercepted a rant and heat crept up my neck as I read the blistering email from a first time fair trade shopper who received something “pathetic” and asked for more choices right after they filed a Paypal dispute. (Wording has been changed, but you get the point).
I thought about the refugee woman I had tea with earlier in the day, the one who didn’t choose to be persecuted for her faith and didn’t choose to birth her babies into an oppressive homeland and sure as hell didn’t choose to be deported from her country as a religious refugee.
I thought about the homes across the world I’ve sat in, void of every comfort and convenience, yet filled with women eager to work hard at a job instead of open their palm for a handout.
I answered the email and chose my words carefully, apologizing and offering another option. I asked for patience and kindness in return and reminded them that our real goal was to empower the impoverished and oppressed. I didn’t sign the email. After I sent it, I tried not to cry.
Within minutes, a response came and it read something like this, “Oh, Kristen, I didn’t know you would be receiving my email. I’m embarrassed for being rude. I’m a Christian and I love what you’re doing. I love what God is doing. Keep up the good work and thanks for sending me something else.”
I think I was more grieved she felt I was a someone instead of a somebody.
Sadly, it’s happened enough that a couple dozen people might think I’m referring to them. I’m not. I think it’s become common for people of the Cross to be unkind.
Just ask the waitress who brings the wrong meal to the table or the teacher who reprimands our child. Ask the insurance agent we are trying to get payment from and the Facebook friend who says something we don’t agree with.
Or all those customer service reps.
Sometimes, I’m ashamed to be called a Christian.
Because somewhere along the way, Christianity in American has been hijacked and many believe that life is about comfort, happiness and getting what we want, especially if we paid for it, but mostly because we deserve it.
Christians, let’s wake up. Life isn’t about us and our faith isn’t supposed to be cozy.
This comfortable life we work so hard to create and sustain– is temporary. It’s not permanent. This is just the pre-show and how we treat others every day matters. I’ve been that Christian–the one who emailed a rant or sent a meal back and then one day I woke up in hell and realized the people in front of me who lacked so much –actually had everything.
“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul… Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” 1 Peter 2:11;17
Your opinion might be right, but your lack of love makes you wrong.
In our culture, Christians are known more for what we are against that what we are for.
Let them know us by our love–not by our political opinion or social media status.
It’s time we remember that life isn’t about us–what we want, what we get and what we do –doesn’t determine who we are.
Christians are life-givers and burden-bearers. We choose to give up comfort so we can make others comfortable. We lay down our lives and desires so we can pick up a heavy cross. We love people-those who look different, act different and are different. We are propelled by love for love.
Life isn’t about us. And when we lose our life, we find it.
Life is about glorifying God in everything we do. It’s about loving those we can see and touch and loving those will never see or meet. It’s about loving those who disappoint us and disagree with us. It’s about giving with getting nothing in return.
It’s about understanding our purpose in this world isn’t to live a cozy life where we get what we want, but it’s about laying down our lives so others might find theirs.
It’s might be hard to recognize Christianity in our culture, but when we start living like life isn’t about us, people will notice.
Because that’s what true Christianity looks like.