So much fuss this week about a little plain red cup.
Starbucks created a special plain red holiday cup to reflect the simplicity and peacefulness of the season, not realizing it was about to create a war. And why would they even consider that it’d stir up so much controversy? After all, the word Christmas is available on their gift cards, their Christmas blend coffee, and on other items in their store.
I just gotta say up front: I’m a hardcore coffee person—especially Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee. The employees at three different Starbucks in my city know me on a first name basis. A few of them even know my dogs names since I frequently have my dogs with me as I grab coffee through the drive thrus. The employees will ask how my dogs and family are almost every time I’m in there. I also take the time to ask about their day, their families, and always thank them for making me a great cup of coffee!
I love all things coffee…hot coffee…iced coffee…frappuccinos…I literally could drink coffee in just about any flavor, any way, all day long. So when I saw all of the blog posts about Starbucks, I had to see what all the commotion was about.
After reading several hateful blog posts (and the comments) about the evils of Starbucks…I thought, “Great! Another controversy to make the Christian population look judgmental and ridiculous.”
I remember the days when I wasn’t yet saved. I remember the nasty judgments and unsolicited comments that were thrown my way. I actually had planned to reject Christianity…until I met a group of Christians who actually acted like Christ and lovingly treated me like Christ would have. They never once told me what they were against…they showed me through their actions what they were for. They didn’t tell me all that was wrong with me…they told me all that was right about me. They told me how much Christ loved me, and sincerely showered me with His love. I’m glad they cared enough to love me because the very next year was when my sister died…and it was my Christianity that helped me through that difficult time.
While reflecting on my own spiritual journey, it made me wonder if the same approach would be best used with the red cup controversy.
Like most businesses or organizations…including the general population, churches, and, yes, even Christians…there is a mix of good and bad. And I truly believe there is a war on Christmas…especially keeping Christ in Christmas…but it certainly has absolutely nothing to do with a plain red Starbucks cup.
I think the focus is wrong and needs adjusting.
Christians who expect a non-Christian business…or non-Christian people for that matter…to uphold Christian values are missing the mark. People and businesses won’t act like Christ if they don’t personally know Christ. And they’re never going to end up knowing Him if His followers keep spewing hatefulness and judgment onto them. It’s like getting angry or irritated at an infant for not knowing how to run a marathon.
The world knows what all Christians are against…because there are a lot of Christians who regularly—and very publicly—boycott businesses and make major fusses all over social media. Lots of unsaved people have sadly experienced the wrath and judgment from Christians they’ve encountered. But when will the world have the opportunity to know what all Christians are for? The beauty of all that Christ offers—the mercy, forgiveness, genuine love, empathy, healing, fulfillment, and compassion that so many crave?
We as Christians majorly limit ourselves, as well as our witness, when we take on the role of Holy Spirit and serve up a big dollop of judgment.
Instead of throwing a reactive hissy fit over a little red cup—which by the way, was never intended to be a Christian tract—how about the Christian community do something proactive? Instead of boycotting Starbucks, how about intentionally frequenting Starbucks (and coffee shops everywhere) and actively witness by simply being loving and kind? Build relationships with the workers…ask about their day…get to know them…and then after getting to know them, invest in their lives and then kindly invite them to church?
I’ve had three Starbucks employees accept my invitation to come to church. But the thing is…even if they rejected my invitation—and many of them have—I still consider them to have great worth. It didn’t anger me because I didn’t have an agenda…I was just being a good human being who cares about them as a person. I’m still super kind to them and I still am interested in them as human beings. I’m not kind to them because I hope to get them into church; I’m kind to them because God created them, loves them, and they have great value.
I personally believe that before a Christian voices their opinions, they need to earn the right to be heard. And, the way you earn the right to be heard is through investing in someone. People are not projects or something to mark off of a feel good “to do” list. They’re real people, with real souls…real problems…real hearts…and very real needs. Look for the genuine needs of a person’s heart…and then actively help or encourage them…that’s when a person will begin to listen.
Instead of expecting a red cup to witness and tell the world about Christ…how about each Christian be “Christ” and witness to the ones who are handing out the red cups? Because, the truth is, they don’t care if you like a plain red cup if they don’t know for a fact that you care about them.
Always witness every single day of your life. Words aren’t even necessary.
Love…smile…be kind…encourage…be humble…invest in…and do good to everybody you come into contact with. If every Christian did just this, what an amazing difference it would make. It’s our job to love, Christ’s job to convict.
So, please, Christians, stop shouting all that you are against, and start showing exactly what…and Who…you are for.
The world knows what we’re all against. Everybody already knows what’s wrong with them. How about we make a commitment to show what we’re for…and show people what’s right about them? How about we simply love everybody and allow God to do the rest? When we choose love, He can do more in a moment than we could ever hope to achieve in an entire lifetime.
If you truly want to keep Christ in CHRISTmas, grab a cup of coffee and let this amazing quote beautifully sink in this holiday season:
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done to you.” ~Steve Maraboli
Now, that’s what Christmas is truly all about!
For the record, I think it’s awesome to stand up for what’s right or what you believe in…ABSOLUTELY!…just not at the expense of others losing out eternally due to abrasiveness and bad manners . Not trying to step on anyone’s toes…just giving another viewpoint. 🙂
1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other warmly, because love covers many sins.”
Every time you see a red Starbucks cup this season, remember this quote and thoughtfully take the time to make a difference! Genuinely get to know others…through intentionally loving them…and invite them to your Christmas services at church. Be the love to others that you wish to receive.
Enjoy this beautiful Christmas season and make the most of every opportunity you are given in life—especially to invest in, love, and bless others.
Gratitude & MANY blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships~ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed~ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief~ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays~ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays