Over the course of my more than 25 years of working in customer service and executive positions, I’ve apologized for thousands of things I had nothing to do with and had absolutely no control over.
I’ve apologized when employees were offended by a supervisor or another employee. I’ve apologized when customers had a poor experience in the automated voice system or with a call center agent. I’ve even fielded calls about our Christian Chamber members from upset customers.
Many times, I wanted to say something like, “Suck it up and get over it,” or “Are you kidding, you’re upset over that?” I thought about ignoring their complaints or even blaming them for their problems. My dad’s response is one I loved: “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
But that’s the response of the flesh.
As Christians doing business and living in this world, we can take a big lesson from a powerful story found in Matthew 17:24–27. The tax collectors wanted Jesus to pay the temple tax. Jesus did not agree with it, but he was so focused on his purpose and why he was on this earth that he didn’t make a big deal out of it.
Jesus simply told Peter to throw out his line, open the mouth of the first fish he catches, and there he will find the coins to pay tax for both of them.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. He could have responded in any number of ways, but he humbled himself and took the money from a fish’s mouth to bring about peace so he could continue on doing his Father’s business.
It’s easy to become prideful or hardened by the work we do and the encounters we have daily so that when someone complains, we say things better left unsaid — things that inflame rather than calm. While we might feel good at that moment, what benefit comes from having unresolved conflict with upset customers or colleagues?
Jesus modeled the true spirit of peace, humility, and purpose by simply taking the coins out of a fish’s mouth and moving on.
In response to someone’s complaint or issue, I challenge you to put something valuable in your mouth and say with genuine care, “I’m so sorry you had that experience.”
It won’t cost you anything at all to say those words, but it will make a world of difference to the person hearing them.
As believers we have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ all over the world, especially through our businesses. Don’t allow pride, annoyance or hardening from life experiences get in the way of expressing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
I challenge you to think about what’s coming out of your mouth.