Kitchen Etiquette and How It Applies To Christians
If you're a chef like me, or if you've worked in a restaurant for any period of time, or even if you watch Food Network reality TV shows, you've probably encountered someone walking behind someone else in the kitchen. When doing so, it's customary and just plain courteous to say, "Behind you!" loud enough that the other person knows not to back up suddenly. That's all it's meant to do, not to make the person move out of the way or threaten them with the hot pan you're holding. Sadly, "Behind you!" generally means, "Get out of my @#$%ing way, or I'll make sure you get burned by the hot pan I'm carrying!" in a lot of kitchens. Heck, some chefs make millions doing that!
As a result of years of putting up with this kind of abuse in restaurant kitchens, I've grown weary of that environment. I became very bitter and my job performance suffered. All because people were jerks to each other.
During my time at culinary school, the campus's Christian fellowship group taught me a lot about how poor kitchen etiquette works its way into every other part of a person's life, but not by showing me a good example. My time in fellowship there was full of arguments and people wanting to make me feel dumb. I'm sure that wasn't their intention, but nevertheless it caused a great deal of social anxiety for me. Spiritually it was the same as being screamed at to get out of the way.
Yes, I confess that at the time my theology was slightly off and needed a course of correction, but my brothers and sisters would just argue with me, interrupt me, pull me aside and tell me I'm a nuisance to the Bible study, and even possibly changed the time of the Bible study so I couldn't go. (That last point was never officially proven, but their behavior toward me was that of relief of not having to deal with me anymore.) The point is, they ostracized me when all I needed was some restoration. Here's some interesting things the Bible says about this situation:
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." Galations 6:1-3
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
No, it doesn't mean life needs to be a worship session with guitars following you around. It means even the course of correction we give to a brother or sister in Christ needs to have the same level of care and love as you would when you worship the Lord in song. It is true that people act differently when the boss is around, therefore your interactions with other Christians should be the same as if Christ were physically present.
Does it mean we can't be tough on anybody? Actually, tough talk can be the best way as long as it leads to restoration. Tough talk should only be reserved for when the other person is flat out refusing correction. I mean, if I'm holding a hot pan and there's a person deliberately standing in my way, I'm going to talk tough to get him to move.
The moral of the story is that correction should only be for the benefit of the person at fault more than yourself. Always look out for their best interests before confronting them, otherwise you might tear them down.