KEYWORDS: parents, love, visitors, jesus, thee


David Berg

—MOFebruary 23, 1971DO No.50A

—Excerpted from "Good Sample"


1. AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR WITNESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS IS OUR HANDLING OF VISITORS. We can suffer severe damage and losses along this line, as well as miss some great opportunities because of neglect and carelessness in this field! A large part of good public relations is wisely treating parents with consideration and respect which is Scripturally due to the older generation by virtue of their age—whether they deserve it or not, and whether they're right or wrong: "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (Pr.15:1), and "Honour thy father and thy mother" (Mt.15:4). It doesn't say "provided they're right" or "if you're wrong." It just says "Do it!" and you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary trouble this way. "AGREE WITH THINE ADVERSARY WHILST THOU ART IN THE WAY WITH HIM, lest he hail thee to the judge, and the judge commit thee to the prison‚ and thou shalt not come forth from thence, until thou hast paid the last farthing" (Mt.5:26). "If they smite thee on the one cheek, turn unto them the other" (Mt.5:39). "And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also, and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee‚ turn not thou away" (Mt.5:40). "Love your enemies‚ bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven, for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt.5:44). BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, for they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you‚ and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake: rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven‚ for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. ... Resist not evil" (Mt.5:10-12,39). How's that for a shocker!

2. YOU'RE BOUND TO HAVE SOME TROUBLE—Mt.10:36 has promised this, but I've found that most enemies can be at least pacified, if you keep sweet, don't lose your temper, let them bawl you out‚ but don't bawl them out, and don't preach down at them! BETTER A SAMPLE, THAN A SERMON! Being an example of sweetness and humility has turned away lots of wrath, with soft answers. "Love never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues‚ they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." It doesn't matter how much Bible you know, or how much Scripture you can spout, or how loud you can yell in tongues, or how much you scream prophecies at these people—this is not going to pacify them—it's only going to make them madder! THE ONLY THING THAT CAN DO IT, IF ANYTHING CAN, IS LOVE AND MORE LOVE AND HOURS OF PATIENCE! You may need to spend hours and hours dealing with them in loving patience, but if you do, they will go away at least pacified and some of them with a much better attitude if not convinced!


3. IN THE FIRST PLACE, GREETING IS A FULL-TIME JOB which involves handling phone calls‚ witnessing, vehicles, visitors, and the log. You need a Director of Greeting who has had experience in meeting the "System" public and is also old enough to somewhat bridge the generation gap—parents and older visitors would treat him with a little more respect and have a little more confidence in him, because they feel him to be nearer their age and could thus understand them better. You can't have young babes, teenagers and fresh radicals without much experience, diplomacy, and tact in handling the public, and without even a desire for the same, greeting irate parents at the door. You need one of your oldest‚ humblest, sweetest, and most understanding and patient staff members to supervise the greeting.

4. THE DIRECTOR OF GREETING SUPERVISES a number of teams of several greeters each. These teams are divided into three major categories of three on each team: one for older Systemites, one for the young married couples, or older college-age, and one for the teenagers. You cannot have a teenager dealing with parents—neither one will understand the other. Neither are older staff members usually most effective with teenagers, and neither one is very good with the in-betweens, young couples and college grads. YOU HAVE TO HAVE PEOPLE FOR EACH CLASSIFICATION WHO KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEM, WHO THEMSELVES ARE SOMEWHAT IN THE SAME CATEGORY, and who know what they're doing! So in the first place, you need an older‚ responsible, cool–tempered level-headed Christian diplomat, with unlimited patience and love—not your hard ones who are accustomed to sifting disciples! The parents are not applying for admission—they just want to know about their children, which is a typical parental trait common to most parents. If certain greeting personnel have antagonised an irate parent and nothing seems to cool them, it might be well to transfer them to another ministry for awhile to take the heat off the situation. If you can remove personalities at whom the enemies are aggravated, and replace them with someone whom they can't blame, you often solve the problem! It also gives the enemy a chance to back down and save face! This is often done in politics, business, international diplomacy, and church work, whom‚ you must admit‚ must have learned something along this line from generations of bitter experience! It would do well to take heed to a few outstanding Biblical examples, as well, in which the personnel was shifted to take the heat off, many examples of which are describe in "I Gotta Split," as well as in "Drop-Outs."


5. IF [ANTAGONISTIC] PARENTS DEMAND TO SEE THEIR CHILDREN, THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DO SO. If the babe is not strong enough to stand against his parents in a face-to-face confrontation, … if worst comes to worst, and you have to let them see him, don't try to stop them, interfere, and certainly not forcibly prevent it, even his leaving with them! If he goes voluntarily, that's his funeral! If they carry him out by force‚ that's kidnapping, and their funeral! WHATEVER YOU DO‚ DON'T BECOME A PARTY TO EITHER CRIME BY ATTEMPTING TO FORCIBLY INTERFERE, not even by your attitude or words, much less by your bodily or physical actions! I don't see any record in the Scripture where any of the disciples were forced to stay, or any parents were forcibly interfered with, and Scriptures already given in this Epistle very clearly teach the contrary.


6. TAKE A CUE FROM JESUS! ON VISITORS WHO ASK QUESTIONS, BUT REFUSE TO GIVE YOU ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THEMSELVES, in this case, you don't have to do it! Get their name and address for the record, before you answer any questions! This is standard security procedure by guards in many sensitive public buildings! If they won't give you their name, they don't deserve any information of any kind! Jesus said‚ "If ye will not answer Me this question, neither will I answer you your question." You will have a perfect right to know their name, and to ask that they sign the guest book, and if possible, get their address before you answer any questions regarding personnel, doctrines, or otherwise. Even in the business world, it's very acceptable and unobjectionable procedure with callers: "May we have your name, please?" ... "And who are you with, or what company do you represent?" and it is standard policy for the caller to even present his business card with all the details. THIS IS BIG BUSINESS—THE LORD'S BUSINESS, THE BIGGEST IN THE WORLD! We can hardly do less than they, and we can learn some lessons from their experience‚ for, as Jesus said, "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light," believe it or not! This seems usually true when it comes to business and the practical affairs of this world—Christians seem to be pretty dumb, while the Devil's pretty smart! We could even learn a few tips from his dandy bad example: handle potential enemies with kid gloves, sweet talk, and the utmost patient diplomacy and avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble! …


7. HOW ARE FRIENDLY VISITORS HANDLED? Don't allow these offers to be just buried in the record and then forgotten. Invite them to dinner, and go see the place now! The showing of genuine gratitude and appreciation of such help immediately tends to make a preferred friend even more friendly and inclined to befriend you again. But careless and unwelcome treatment of such visitors, and negligence with their offers, and a manifest lack of concern, can lose them forever! This is why I always liked the Words of Jesus better than any other part of the Bible! He was always the peacemaker, never the rabble-rouser, and certainly not usually the one to deliberately stir up trouble! It was all voluntary, all "Whosoever will" and "come unto Me" and "I will draw all me unto Me‚" not force them! I'm sorry if I haven't made this clear to you before, but the Bible certainly makes it clear! This is the Age of Grace, not Works, the Age of Volition, not Compulsion.


8. IN ALL VISITORS LOGS‚ include the exact name of who is dealing with whom, the subject of their visit, and the outcome. If you can't get their address, get their license number—it could come in handy if they cause any trouble! Whatever you do, don't take the law into your hands—let the police do it! In addition, names and addresses should be accurately spelled and included in the log for the sake of including friendly visitors on the mailing list. You should issue a regular, explanatory promotional prayer letter or let the mother colony do it! Whatever you do, you must not neglect them‚ ignore them, or be unappreciative of them! You need them! Don't knock it—Use it! You've got the best excuse in the world to ask for their help! You're helping their little Johnny—you could use their help‚ too! Otherwise, let Texas handle it for you! All some people can see is a button off the vest, instead of the beautiful necktie! All some people can do is be like a billy goat who goes around butting everything he doesn't like, crashing head-on with "But this, and but that," etc.! They're always seeing the hole, instead of the doughnut.


9. ONE OF THE SUREST WAYS TO PACIFY A PARENT IS not to immediately take up the cudgel of the Word and start beating him over the head with it, hoping he'll beat a hasty retreat, but TO SHOW HIM YOU SYMPATHISE WITH HIM‚ UNDERSTAND HIS CONCERN, AND AGREE WITH HIS MISGUIDED EFFORTS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. "I certainly don't blame you for being concerned about your little Johnny, which is only right, as you should be as a loving proper parent: but never fear, he's in good hands, in spite of all you've heard about us‚ and if you don't believe it, here he is, bright and cheerful, safe and sound and happy!" And don't hesitate to present him, or they're bound to think you have something to hide‚ and call the cops. Let them see a sample! Let them see him!—Don't just give them a sermon! You're wasting your time! They won't listen to anything until they've seen Little Johnny! They don't want to hear anything but his dear, sweet voice. But all your efforts are going to do no good, if Little Johnny himself comes in breathing fire and smoke, and blasting away with salvo after salvo of denunciatory Scriptures, immediately berating them and condemning them, and consigning them to everlasting fire and torment without a word of consolation! "Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed," which Jesus said was "the first commandment with promise." It can really reap good dividends to make friends out of enemies, helpers out of hinderers, and at least pacify the public! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE LOVE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. If the parent is absolutely impossible, incorrigible, and implacable‚ I suggest trying to send Little Johnny to [another Home if he so desires] … where it won't be so easy for them to get their hands on him, and so take the heat off of you! … [J]ust tell 'em the honest truth, that he's now transferred to another course of training in one of our other locations, and you'll be happy to give them his new address, if they'd like to write him! You're sure he'd be happy to reply, and tell them what a wonderful time he's having! Or, he's on a field trip somewhere, and as soon as you hear from them, you'll tell him to write so they'll know he's O.K. Most parents just want to make sure they're still alive, and unharmed, and happy—but when they don't hear from them for months, they're bound to be concerned!

10. MAKE IT COMPULSORY FOR THE DISCIPLES TO WRITE THEIR PARENTS AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, or even better, once a week, or twice a month so that the parents will rest at ease that at least he's still alive and they're not so apt to call out the Romans to look for them!

11. FEEL SORRY FOR THESE POOR PARENTS, HAVE COMPASSION ON THEM, as Jesus did! "Bless them ... do good to them ... and pray for them ... that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven," no matter what they do! Keep sweet! You may have to explain the truth about them to their children, but for God's sake‚ don't slap the parents in the face with it! Try to have a little sympathy‚ a little empathy, put yourself in their shoes, try to think how they feel, since they're ignorant and don't know any better, and don't really understand what you're trying to do, and have heard all kinds of lies and wild talk about you! Try to understand and explain with loving patience and sympathy! Love the sinner, but not the sin! Love the Systemite, but not the System! Love the person, even if you don't like his point of view! This is true in all of your witnessing! DWELL ON THE POSITIVE, NOT THE NEGATIVE, discuss the things you have in common‚ not your differences, and try to establish as many points in common instead of picking out the flaws! You need to know what the Scripture meaneth, when Jesus said, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice" and when the Apostle wrote, "Love throws a veil over countless sins!"