Since you came, Mr. Murphey, our church has lost some of its dignity,” Florence said as she served me tea from a silver tea service. “We had such—such quiet dignity before you came. Now, I don’t want to hurt your feelings in telling you all of this. But you call those children to the front for the children’s sermon. And they’re so noisy. It absolutely disturbs the sanctity of the whole worship hour.” She smiled angelically as she offered me a cookie from a silver plate.

“Florence, I’m sorry you feel that way. For me, children are important, I want them to feel part of the worship. Church isn’t just for older people.”

“Yes,” she said. Her lips smiled, but her eyes didn’t. “But they also need to learn to be reverent in God’s house. Why, they whisper as they go forward. And when you ask questions, they all yell out answers and.…”

Florence had other observations to make. She summed up the conversation by saying, “Now, we realize you’ve only been in the church for a short time, Mr. Murphey, but I wanted you to know how I felt about things.”

“Thanks, Florence, for being so open. I’m sorry you can’t enjoy the children’s sermons. As I said, the children are important to me. I intend to treat them as children and not as miniature adults.”

I was depressed as I walked away. Was Florence right? Had I been too harsh? Too judgmental toward her attitude? “Lord, help me to be more loving toward Florence. Toward people who disagree with me.” And I am learning. It’s not always easy. Some of the people who disagree with me never come around to my way of thinking. Or I never ...

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