I constantly hear people say things like, “Christians are the worst tippers in restaurants.” Or, “Some of the rudest people I know are Christians.” I even hear Christians repeating these sentiments. Honestly, my first thought is, “If Christians are the rudest people you know, you must not know very many people!” Here are my thoughts about mean, rude, stingy, and unkind Christians.
I have known a lot of Christians and I have known a lot of non-Christians. I have known nice people in both categories. But, by far, my favorite people in the world are Christians! Over the last 30 years, I have known Christians to be kind, loving, gracious, forgiving, and generous.
And Christians aren’t just kind and generous to their own. I know so many Christians who will dig into their wallets and hand large sums of money to non-Christians who just ask. Even if the Christian knows the person is probably “on the take,” they are still likely to be generous to them.
People in the world know this to be true. I deal with people all the time who go from one church to the next to get food, money, and clothes. If Christians are so mean and stingy, why is it that people still come to churches when they’re in need? Why don’t they walk in a worldly business and say, “May I speak with the manager? I can’t pay my water bill this month. Will you pay it for me?” They would get laughed out of the store. Yet, as a preacher, I get those requests several times a week.
But still we hear that Christians are the meanest people in the world. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Not All “Church-Goers” Are Christians
It may be true that waiters and waitresses hate Sundays because Christians are poor tippers. I have never been a waiter, so I cannot confirm or deny that oft-quoted statistic. However, please understand that Christians attend worship on Sundays, but not everyone who attends worship on Sundays is a Christian. Just because the people at the table on a Sunday afternoon have nice clothes on, does not mean they are Christians.
Being a Christian means being a disciple – a follower – of Jesus. Jesus was kind, loving, and generous. He taught His disciples to be kind, loving, and generous as well. If someone doesn’t live that way, they’re not really following Christ, are they? So please don’t assume all these rude people running around in fancy clothes on Sunday afternoons are Christians.
2. Christians aren’t Perfect
You may have had a bad experience with a genuine follower of Christ, but you may have caught him or her on a bad day. Don’t you have bad days? Doesn’t everyone? If someone doesn’t return a casual, “Hello,” I could assume that person is rude, or I could give them the benefit of the doubt and say, “Maybe he was having a bad day and his mind was somewhere else. I’m sure he didn’t mean to come across rude.”
There is no excuse for rude behavior, I understand that. But can’t we cut people a little slack? You have no idea what is going on in someone’s life. What if that Christian – who you think was rude to you – had just been diagnosed with cancer? What if he had just lost his job? What if he was concerned about his teenage son, who is struggling with a pornography problem? You don’t have any idea what is going on in that person’s life. So, how about cutting them some slack?
No Christian is perfect, but we’re all trying to do better.
3. What Makes a Person Stingy?
Often, it seems, people think Christians are stingy or mean because Christians won’t give them whatever they want. Listen, genuine Christians believe our money and resources belong to the Lord and we are just stewards. But being a steward means making wise choices with what has been entrusted to us. Have you considered the fact that giving you whatever you want may not be the best thing a Christian could do with the money God has given him? Have you considered that a Christian giving you whatever you want may not even be in your best interest?
Financing sinful behavior, enabling people, or even rewarding poor service at a restaurant – are not Christian virtues (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10). If a waiter gives poor service and treats a customer poorly, a Christian is not obligated to give that server a generous tip. Why is it that we always seem to blame the “stingy Christian”? Honestly, I know some Christians who are probably pretty lousy tippers. But I know far more Christians who reward good service when they see it.
I have had people call the church office and cuss me out because we could not – or would not – pay their utility bills. So let me get this straight, a person doesn’t take care of his responsibilities, cusses and screams at people, but the Christian is the one who is unloving? That doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?
We love helping people. We love to give. We love to be a blessing to people. But the simple fact is, we have many obligations and cannot afford to give the whole world everything they want. Nor would it be wise to do so, even if we could.
4. We Can Do Better
With all that being said, there is always room for improvement. Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” We can always get better at doing that. We can help more, we can be kinder, and we can be more generous.
But, brothers and sisters-in-Christ, can we please stop perpetuating the notion that Christians are a rude and stingy lot? The world is always going to cast insults our way, but we certainly don’t need to help them in that department. If you have been a Christian very long, you probably know Christians are generally the kindest, most loving, and most generous people in the world. I, for one, am proud to be a member of Christ’s church and be surrounded by those who are trying our best to follow Him!
I love you and God loves you,