Friday, February 1, 2013

Tipping as a way to forgive.

Normally when I go to restaurants I tip according to the service I received. Never less than 10%, but if it's pretty bad then they are getting exactly that, I figure out what 10% is and then just add on according to how I feel they did. Last night Tom and I went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, our waitress was pretty sweet to our faces, but we could hear her and the other servers mocking us as we prayed, and when she brought our food my rice (not paleo, I know) was so hard that I couldn't chew it. It had great flavor, so I just ate around it, and it wasn't really that big of a deal.

Normally I probably would have not said anything and just gave her a low tip. But, as I was about to do that I felt my conscience telling me "that's not showing Christ's love, now is it?" My inner dialogue can be so smart in annoying way sometimes! That's not what He does for us. We sin, and are pretty awful sometimes, and He loves us so immensely anyway, He provides not just the bare minimum, but so abundantly when we least deserve it. That's the light of Christ I want to shine.

Those moments when He blesses us, and teaches us a lesson are the most humbling. He never just hands us blessings without making us learn something else from it, so I couldn't just leave her a big tip without a word, that would be rewarding bad behavior, and God does not do that. We should not do that. I simply told her, very nicely, and very quietly, "I just want you to know, so you can let the kitchen know, that while very delicious, my rice was really hard. Also, for future reference if you are going to mock customers, make sure you are out of ear shot."

The color drained from her face as she started to stammer an apology  I just held up my hand, and smiled, and said, "it's fine, I am not upset, I just want you to be aware of it." she dropped her head and scurried back to the kitchen. I resolved to give her a 50% tip. Not because I wanted to show her that you can be rewarded for bad behavior, but that you can be forgiven, and loved no matter what you do. We went to the register to pay, she was our cashier as well, and she was still mortified. I started small talk with her about the weather, and you could tell she was nervous. When she handed back the change, I very simply took out what would amount to 50% (to the nearest dollar) and handed it to her, and walked out, as we left I saw her eyes fill with tears.

I think she got it. Shorting someone on their tip does nothing for you, them, the cause of Christ, or the next table they wait on. If you give them a small tip or no tip (and I am TOTALLY GUILTY) all your doing is perpetuating the cycle...or several cycles.

  • The cycle of bad moods-it feels great to help others, and by not doing anything to help you'll feel shortchanged too, they were probably having a bad day anyway, and you made it worse, and then will make it worse on the next people to come in, and the same thing will happen again and again.
  • The cycle of Christians being jerks. Let's face it, folks, people think we are jerk faces. And stingy, and rude. Shorting a tip based on bad service perpetuates that.
  • The cycle of not caring. This one's pretty obvious, you don't care why should they?
Instead, let's perpetuate some good cycles.
  • The cycle of good moods. You'll lift your spirits, and theirs, and possibly even the next table's.
  • The cycle of Christians being forgiving, and loving. Let's stop helping "them" call us all hypocrites, and prove them wrong. Let's spread love, and forgiveness-with correction, and acknowledgement of misconduct (this won't work without acknowledging it-nicely)
  • The cycle caring. If you care, then I may be encouraged to as well.
I challenge all of us to go forth, and love as Jesus loves us. I challenge us to go and be the light of Christ. I challenge us to point out flaws, in a loving and kind way, and prove to them that they can be forgiven. Mostly, I challenge me to never act like I did in this post again. 

What I did that day may not have changed anything...but because of the possibility that it could, I am changing my perspective on tipping. 

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