Some people today believe we must change our unwelcoming attitudes and actions in our small town because they’ve experienced our unwelcoming side. I’m a home-grown Hastings boy, lived here all my …
Some people today believe we must change our unwelcoming attitudes and actions in our small town because they’ve experienced our unwelcoming side. I’m a home-grown Hastings boy, lived here all my life, and I have found many generous and welcoming people inside our community. I started a small business when I was still a teenager and found many people willing to take a chance on my artistic skills even before I was a seasoned artist with national recognition. I found people generally friendly and polite similar to how my parents taught us as children to treat others. I find that often it's how I treat those around me that determines
how they treat me.
When I started my first church expression in our town, people were understandably cau tious. We were new, we were small, and we did not look like a typical church. They were
polite but waited until I had proven myself to be of some benefit to the community before affirming our church's presence. Was I going to be a deficit or an asset to Hastings? I didn't demand that they accept us or put out the welcome mat. I understood that you have to earn the label of credible and full of integrity before you get to wear it.
Now I’m not saying everybody in Hastings is perfect, but in general, people are welcoming. Our culture is trying to teach us to be suspicious of others, be mindful of your role as either an oppressor or a victim. Some say we must demand others be welcoming. This is a very sad state of affairs.
I’m now 66 years old and every once in a while I might meet someone who has no clue who I am and so they are hesitant to engage. I still understand the value of investing in relationships in order to be welcomed warmly.
So maybe before we make rules and resolutions that Hastings must be welcoming, and before we point out those who we deem unwelcoming, maybe we could all be a little kinder, be a little warmer, then eventually we would be a more welcoming community.
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Written by Pastor Paris Pasch of The Journey Church in Hastings