Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Righteous Response

I used to wait tables.  My co-workers and I would argue a lot.  It made for a pretty tough work environment.

I can remember the hostility spreading like a virus.  A manager would yell at a server, that server would give a cook a dirty look, the cook would make a sideways comment to a host, and on, and on.  After a half hour, every employee in the restaurant was irritated.

One day, one of the Christian servers resisted the virus.  The manager yelled at the server and the server quickly responded: “Can I help you with anything?  I have some free time and would be happy to help with whatever you need.”  Responding to aggression with kindness stopped the hostility dead in its tracks.  The manager didn’t know what to do and quit yelling.  The server didn’t pass the aggression onto the next co-worker and the altercation was over.

Christians are encouraged to behave in similar ways throughout the Bible.  Paul writes to the church in Rome, saying, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”  In other words, being mistreated does not give Jesus’ people the right to mistreat others.  We are called to respond to evil behavior with righteous behavior.  The great thing is, righteousness often undermines evil behavior (as I witnessed first hand in the restaurant).

As you go through the coming week, look for opportunities to respond to bad behavior in righteousness ways.  If a co-worker yells at you, offer to help them with their work.  If a person gossips about you, take him or her to lunch and ask him or her what is on his or her mind.  Responding to bad actions with God honoring ones will take the bite out of the offense, stop the angry virus in its tracks, and, most importantly, honor Jesus in the process.  

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