The Golden Rule

July 11, 2005 by

This has little directly to do with marketing, but I love the story. It’s about Rev. Frank Santora, the senior pastor of a Faith Church in New Milford, Conn. Santora was preaching on the golden rule, and shared a story about how he could have sued a roofer who put a leaky roof on Santora’s house and then charged Santora for the materials to fix it. Instead he just paid the roofer to finish the job.

“I thought, maybe this man charged me the $1,500 for the materials because he couldn’t afford to pay for them himself and was simply too embarrassed to admit it,” he said. “And maybe what I have to do is swallow the cost so this guy’s thoughts of Christianity and of ministers won’t be tainted.”

How many churches, how many pastors, how many Christians are willing to take that approach? Yes, you could be taken advantage of, but it seems the greater risk is making someone else feel cheated. It doesn’t sound right to my ideas of fairness, but Jesus isn’t really interested in that, is he? I wish it was something I could live up to.

And yes, I’d also agree that it’s maybe a story better kept to yourself. Then again, if we always took that route there’d be little to challenge and inspire.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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11 Responses to “The Golden Rule”

  • angie
    July 12, 2005

    Hi Kevin
    I like your entry. it’s smthg everyone can identify with… i always think it’s ok to be cheated with small money for Christ’s sake but i’m not sure i’ll react the same if a bigger amount is involved. :p
    Btw, i apologise for posting your blog on http://purposedrivenlife.multiply.com. But i didn’t plagiarise it :p so you wont sue me for that rite? :p
    God Bless
    angie


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  • Eddie
    July 12, 2005

    is a guys “thoughts of Christianity and of ministers” really what’s important in this world? has it ever occurred to anyone that the roofer in question might be someone who makes a carrier out of screwing people…. people who can’t afford to pay the extra $1,500? it’s obvious to me that Frank Santora has been spending way too much time within the walls of the church to know that there are in fact people out there who purposefully try to hurt and take advantage of others. people like money changers in a temple maybe? last i checked, Jesus wasn’t very forgiving of their actions and certainly didn’t turn a blind eye to it either.

    in more cases than i can count, christianity has made christians complacent to the injustices of the world. Frank Santora may not have needed to sue his roofer but he should have at least confronted him out of love no less. because he was so concerned about trivial things like how a person sees the church and ministers, Frank Santora may have missed a golden opportunity to stop someone from hurting others in the future. instead, it seems that mr. santora now has bragging rights to how wonderful of a christian he is.

    but hey, what do i know…
    eddie

    btw, i wasn’t able to read the whole article due to the fact i kept being forwarded to the home page of the website.


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  • kevin
    July 12, 2005

    Yeah, the doofy web site was making it difficult to link to the article. I ended up hitting my browser’s “stop” button.
    Well, what’s the deal, Eddie? Are Christians complacent to injustice in the world? Or is this just a case of someone being complacent to injustice upon themselves? I seem to remember Jesus telling a story that if a man asks for a shirt, give him your coat also. Sounds like a freeloader to me, yet Jesus didn’t stop this freeloader from hurting others.
    but hey, what do I know…


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  • Eddie
    July 12, 2005

    i think you need to re-read the verse in question. jesus was not talking about “freeloaders” and i’m not talking about revenge or an eye for an eye here either. what i am talking about is motivation…. frank santora’s motivation. his states his motivation to let the roofer go was so that the church and ministers could look good. and, lets face it, he sure took the opportunity to let everyone know what a good little christian he is.

    as far as being complacient and the injustices of the world go, who are you kidding. i know more christians that will turn a blind eye to getting screwed or seeing someone else get screwed and be okay with it because in the end, God will square everything away anyway, right? in the end, mr. santora had an opportuninty to politely confront his roofer and make things right or have his license taken away. of course, he did neither so that he could tell a great story about how wonderful he is. if the story ends there, then you are right, the injustice was only done to him. however, if this roofer goes out and screws other people again and again…. all he has to show for his $1500 is a good story about how wonderful he is.

    Eddie


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  • kevin
    July 13, 2005

    You’re right, I should re-read the verses:

    “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” (Luke 6:28-30, NIV)

    Matthew gets even more blunt:

    “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matt. 5:39-41)

    You’re right, Jesus wasn’t talking about freeloaders. He was talking about an “evil person.” Jesus doesn’t say anything about right the wrongs of this evil doer, he says to give them more than they try to take. So with that approach, perhaps Frank Santora should have paid the roofer $2,000.
    But hey, what do I know? I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar or know my Bible nearly as well as I should. But I don’t see anything in those verses about stopping injustice.
    As far as motivation, I think you’re taking a big step in claiming to know Frank’s motivation (especially when you said haven’t read the article). Claiming Frank did this strictly so he could tell a story is pretty harsh. I’m not saying that shouting this story from the rooftops is a great thing for Frank to do, but pastors sharing their own and others’ stories of success (and failure) is pretty integral to their jobs.


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  • Eddie
    July 13, 2005

    “You’re right, Jesus wasn’t talking about freeloaders. He was talking about an “evil person.” Jesus doesn’t say anything about right the wrongs of this evil doer, he says to give them more than they try to take. So with that approach, perhaps Frank Santora should have paid the roofer $2,000.”

    yes, maybe he should have especially based on what his reason was for letting the roofer go. i can only imagine what reaction the roofer might have been if he did and this action would still be confronting him.

    “But hey, what do I know? I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar or know my Bible nearly as well as I should. But I don’t see anything in those verses about stopping injustice.”

    injustice can’t always be stopped, but there isn’t anything in those verses that say you should sit idly by either. if anything, Jesus is calling us to take action against injustice by being overly generous or being willing to be struck again.

    “As far as motivation, I think you’re taking a big step in claiming to know Frank’s motivation (especially when you said haven’t read the article). Claiming Frank did this strictly so he could tell a story is pretty harsh. I’m not saying that shouting this story from the rooftops is a great thing for Frank to do, but pastors sharing their own and others’ stories of success (and failure) is pretty integral to their jobs.”

    i think sharing the stories of others can be very inspirational. i also think that sharing your own personal failures can only be done out of humility, makes you human and ultimately makes you more accessable to everyone. maybe i am being harsh but boasting is a trait i see all too often in preachers and if what they are doing is really a ‘job’, then i guess that would explain a lot for me.

    i’m not saying they don’t exist, but when was the last time you heard a story told by a preacher talking about how he simply blew it? a story that showed he was as much of a failure to God and his faith as the next guy and i’m not talking about a time before he was a christian or was ‘saved’…. but yesterday.

    but hey, what do i know…
    eddie


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  • cm
    October 11, 2005

    I’m saddened to see Pastor Frank’s motivation questioned by someone who reads something on the net. I happen to attend that church now and find Pastor Frank accessible and real. The church is growing rapidly bc of his willingness to share his struggles and there is definitely joy “in the house”.
    It is by our love for one another that the world will see Jesus. These posts and even the premise of this website are divisive. If you are hurt by someone, go to them directly or with 2-3 elders. Don’t post about their “errors” on the Internet. Where’s the love in that?!


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  • kevin
    October 11, 2005

    Hey CM, I hope you look clearly at this post and the comments and realize that it’s one person questioning Pastor Frank. The initial post and every comment I posted have been defending Pastor Frank.
    This post was definitely not divisive, though the comments that followed may be. And I hope our site isn’t divisive. We’re trying to help churches communicate better, and I thought Pastor Frank’s actions were a good example of how to communicate our faith.


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  • Matthew
    August 23, 2006

    Hey, I found the little debate here to be pretty interesting. On the one hand I can see how it makes no sense to do what the pastor did and that it could seem to some that he was lauding it over people…however I agree with Kevin that the Bible does not seem to discriminate between “being screwed over” or not, it does say to go above and beyond. And with regards to bragging…well certain people in scriptures did do a lot of boasting…Paul for instance. Anyways, just another thought…has this debate strengthened your faith in God or no? Has it strengthened your resolve to share and live your faith or no? If not…does it even matter?


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  • greg smith
    November 28, 2007

    Seems to me that there is something far deeper going on here than the superficial disagreement about Rev. Santora’s actions and his motivation in telling the story. Doesn’t Job say, “Shall I accept good from the Lord and not accept evil as well?” Our Lord says that in this world we will have tribulation.
    THIS world is not our final home, we are never going to “fix” IT. It is the Socialists and the Capitalists who want to “fix” the world we live in now.
    Certainly, we are called by God to help everyone who ASKS for our help, and even many of the weak and destitute who are unable to ask. But we are not given a mandate to correct or repair those who are working for another master. Didn’t the apostle himself say, “The LORD rebuke thee Satan”?
    We need not defend ourselves or our rights. God has provided sword bearing angels to do that far more effectively than we ever can, when it is called for. Hallelujah!


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  • Michael Corley
    June 1, 2009

    Eddie
    “t’s obvious to me that Frank Santora has been spending way too much time within the walls of the church to know that there are in fact people out there who purposefully try to hurt and take advantage of others. people like money changers in a temple maybe? last i checked, Jesus wasn’t very forgiving of their actions and certainly didn’t turn a blind eye to it either.”
    He was a tax attorney before he “found God” and I have met him and argued with him quite a few times, however no one knows that people try to take advantage of others more than Frank Santora. This is coming from a critic.


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