Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I recently heard a question posed regarding how we as Christians deal with poor service in public places. No one seemed to want to answer when asked if we should complain. I finally responded I felt we should but the manner in which we did should show we are Christians and that we stand out as far different than others who treat the same situation in a much different manner.
The impression I got was the questioner had worked with the public and tried to treat everyone as though they might be having a bad day. Due to time constraints and because others were now adding to the discussion what I didn't add was that the service person represents someone bigger than him/herself.
Because I don’t think fast on my feet, what I didn't think about at the time was the example of the regular mail delivery person who appears careless about our mail delivery. On several occasions mail that is not ours has been delivered to our locked box, an ordered and paid-for irreplaceable children's book mail addressed to and said to have been mailed to me never arrived, additional mail we know we should have had has never been in our mailbox, my husband’s prescription medication was brought to our door one day recently having been put in another's locked mailbox, etc. I am sure our mailman believes our neighborhood to be just that, a neighborhood in which neighbors will kindly take care of one another, but sadly he has misjudged a few. I don't think we should simply pat him on the back, smile and say, "Have another great day," ignoring his carelessness. Neither have we gone to his boss yet. It seems the right approach is to mention the mis-delivery to him again…as we have spoken to him about mis-delivered packages in the past...and give him a fair but firm warning because he is a friendly guy. He does seem harried and I believe he is put under a time constraint, and while medications are a bigger deal than a missing book, he still has an obligation to do his duty of accurately delivering the mail.
Should we complain? Instead of using the word “complain” perhaps to remember the definition “express dissatisfaction” would move us towards being less harsh and judgmental. Either way it seems the situation is similar to raising children: you learn to choose your battles. Is the argument over hairstyle worth it? Or is it primary to dwell on the importance of, in this situation, squarely facing the facts? In the above-described circumstance a pat on the back for a job not well done seems to me to be akin to a lie, yet as one of God’s Ambassadors, (2 Corinthians 5:20) I have a responsibility to remember to treat it as best I can as He would have me to do. A flat-out character assassination attack would benefit no one and bring great harm. My hope is the friendly yet firm and factual reproof will achieve the desired effect of correcting the situation. Therefore, my task is to look to my learning from God’s Word and follow the teachings I find there: “Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let you speech always be with grace, seasoned as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4: 5-6 NASB) © Marilyn Sue Moore 9-16-08