Thursday, March 21, 2013

Woman booted from Athens restaurant, calls manager a 'Muslim'

I live in Northeast Georgia, near the city of Athens. My local newspaper is the Athens Banner Herald. Yesterday while on lunch break, I read the paper online. I came across this article. And upon reading it, I became quite dismayed.
Woman booted from Athens restaurant, calls manager a 'Muslim'
A 68-year-old Athens woman caused a disturbance at an Oconee County restaurant Tuesday when authorities said the woman became irate at the food price and didn’t want to deal with a manager who appeared to be “Muslim.”
Oh, my. That is sad behavior... Then in the next sentence, we read this:
A deputy was dispatched to Ryan’s off Epps Bridge Parkway about noon when the woman, who was in the restaurant with a church group, complained about the price of the buffet.
She's with a church group? Oh, my my. Here is the rest of the article:
When the manager spoke to the woman, she complained about his speech, telling the 43-year-old man that if he wanted to live in this country he needs “to speak clear English,” according to the report. When the manager asked her to leave, she became upset and a deputy was summoned. The deputy told the woman to leave and she did, but complained the deputy was taking the manager’s side because he was a Muslim.
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" (James 4:1)

I want to speak to this issue, but I don't want to speak about this woman, specifically. I don't have all the facts. I don't know why she behaved that way. Maybe she was on a different medication that day and had a reaction to it. Maybe she had just received devastating news. Maybe she was coming down with Norovirus. Maybe she lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks or in the Middle East to one of the wars and has let grief gain a foothold of bitterness that satan is exploiting. I don't know."A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression." (Proverbs 29:22).

What I do want to speak to is a Christian's behavior in general. The bible has a lot to say about our behavior in the world. We are supposed to show the people that we are separate from the world, in it but not of it. (Colossians 3:5). It is our outward behavior that shows the distinction. If we behave with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; we are demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23). In 1 Corinthians 6:11 Paul explains that a saved person used to behave a certain way, but now we're "washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

We're told, "because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16). As Barnes' Notes explains, "It is a great truth, that people everywhere will imitate the God whom they worship. They will form their character in accordance with his. They will regard what he does as right. They will attempt to rise no higher in virtue than the God whom they adore, and they will practice freely what he is supposed to do or approve."

And you know the many verses about not being quarrelsome, such as this one from Titus 3:2- "of no one to speak evil, not to be quarrelsome -- gentle, showing all meekness to all men,"

1 Peter 3:4 says that a gentle spirit is precious to God.

What is in us, comes out. Now, we don't "live the Gospel." The Gospel is Good News, and that is something we speak. But the Gospel is supposed to change us after justification occurs, we become sanctified and consecrated, a separate people different from the world. The unbelieving world hates the cross, it is an offense to them and a foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). They wait in depraved skepticism for us to mess up.

Of course it didn't take long for the pagans to chime in with comments on the article. There are already over 100 comments. Comments like these litter the discussion forum:

"didn’t want to deal with a manager who appeared to be “Muslim." And she was with her church group? Not exactly christian of her."
"On the contrary, sounds typically Christian to me."
"No, not very Christian of her...but certainly VERY religious of her."
"You just can't make this stuff up"
"Gotta love the "church group" out there representing Christianity and Christ like love and tolerance. He should have just thrown her a** right out the door!"

Such behavior is not only gleeful for the pagans, but dispiriting to the Christians, too

"How true. I am a Christian, but, find it difficult to be in most churches these days. People like this woman is why."
"Same here. I give up on the people but I never give up on my faith."

Paul had his hands full with the Corinthians. Imagine planting a church where there never had been a church. Where people never had generations of being softened to the Gospel. Where the Christian commandments were the exact opposite of that life demanded in those days (love, charity, respect for life, submission to masters and governments...)

Being human, we are going to mess up. The gibbering demons have a field day each time we do. So what we need to do is try with all our mind, heart, strength and soul to limit the times we mess up so that our witness of Godly character isn't tarnished. The key is not to give up on the people. I actually feel bad for that lady. Who could expect that your moment of weakness and tantrum was going to end up in the newspaper, archived forever, and commented on by hundreds of people? Her sin simply found her out, while others of us haven't been found out ...yet. (Above, The Resurrection, by Pericle Fazzini,  in Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall)

So let's straighten up a bit, remember we are on stage and the audience is the world. Moreover, even if only one person, or no one, sees our tantrum, the One seated in the SkyBox sees all our hissy fits. I wonder, we besmirch His name, does He cringe? Does He furrow His brow? Does He write it down in His book?

I guess what I'm trying to say is "Be a Christian", the kind the world does not expect but the kind the bible urges us to be:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

11 comments:

  1. VERY sad indeed!

    I work at Papa Johns and sometimes I manage as I've gotten out of that position to just drive. Less responsibility etc.

    Anyways, one day This lady came walking in the store and she was very upset. Her pizza was wrong and so I didn't mind making her another one. No problem. She kept on being quite upset and inside my heart I wanted to go back at her. BUT the restraint of the HOly Spirit reminded me of how gentle Jesus is wimme. So I made her pizza, came back to just (listen) to her.. AS I did, she explained that she had just had a family member murdered and then she apologized to me. I told her that it was not a problem and don't worry about paying for the pizza at all. She insisted on paying for it but I told her NO. I learned very quickly that we don't know why people act they way they do sometimes.

    Anyways, there are many who call themselves Christians and they may very well be Christians but they give such a poor testimony in public. I've delivered pizzas to some Churches who get huge discounts and give NO tip whatsoever. There are others who tip well. But I hear the people around me complain about "Christians" who don't tip... All I know is there are many who go to Church and are not truly Christians and YES it is a sorry testimony to Christianity. If anyone should act with proper decorum it should be Christians.

    Also, we lost ALL our rights when we said "I Do" to Jesus. When we were saved. ALL Christians even when we ARE done wrong should not retaliate but learn to trust in the Lord and let HIM take care of the situation.
    For this lady to even be racial was just evil period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Wow.

      Delete
  2. Let's not forget, that the media is decidedly anti-Christian and deathly afraid of Islam. If they get the chance to smear church people, well, that just makes their day! Whether the story is slanted or not, who knows?

    Brian

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brian,

      You're absolutely right. It's why I didn't care to speculate too deeply on her behavior. However the overall event caused the police to be called, which is why it ended up in the paper in the first place. So some Christian woman caused a ruckus and was escorted out by police, blotching the Body's witness.

      Someone in the comment section said that since she was naming him as a Muslim then the reporter should have named her church group's denomination, or else left that out of the article.

      I agree, it is hard to know the truth of anything the media presents these days.

      Delete
  3. You should link back to your article about the sculpture The Resurrection. It has stuck in my head!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here is the verse I was thinking of- (male) overseers must be above reproach (1 Tim 3:2) but since women and wives are under their leadership, it stands that they must be above reproach also. 1 Tim 3:11 says women must be temperate in all things, and 1 Tim 5:10 speaks to the reputation of widows. 1 Tim 5:14 says women are to give no occasion to satan for slander.

    If a Christian woman has behaved in such a way as to draw law enforcement and print media, no matter what the slant of the newspaper's facts, she has failed Paul's instructions for the church.

    Let us behave in such a way as to give satan no occasion to slander us before the Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Heard a great sermon this morning from Adrian Rogers(Joy is an inside job)at one point he makes the comment about people and their actions. He explained actions are often rehearsed so you may never see the "real" person, instead he said if you see how people react to things then you see the real person. From this he said you can tell if Christians are lead by the spirit, because no matter what happens you'll always have the Joy/peace of Jesus and nothing will rile you up.
    How True!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Anonymous, I loved your comment. I learned quite a bit from Rogers' insights which you kindly shared.

      Delete
  6. I heard something once that really stuck with me: True love always seeks the other persons higher good. Who can argue with that??
    Thanks for the reminder, Elizabeth.

    Pam

    ReplyDelete
  7. Heard this story a little differently - Short version - Church group went to Ryan's with check made out for total group. One lady arrived early and thought everyone was paying individually. At checkout group asked for refund of overpayment. Manager refused. Group leader stated that Christian's don't try to cheat people. Manager became enraged, stated he was Muslim and could do whatever he wanted. Called police.

    Probably both sides contain some truth.

    ReplyDelete

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