Growing Kingdom People – United Airlines and a Trip to Hell

United Airlines and a Trip to Hell

Dr. David Dao may not be flying United Airlines anytime soon. After being forcibly removed from his seat and suffering broken teeth, a broken nose and a concussion, the doctor has become an international symbol for the rights of all airline passengers.

The lawyers and courts will sort out what happened to Dr. Dao, and who is at fault. I wasn’t there and I think it is unfair to pass final judgment on anyone based on a video clip.  At this point, however, public opinion might be the only verdict that really matters.

I do want to unpack one detail in this mess that struck a chord with me. Passengers were originally told their flight was overbooked, when in reality there were some airline crew members who needed to commandeer seats to get to their next assignment.  The fact that the needs of airline employees was elevated above the needs of paying passengers, which in turn led to an ugly and violent incident on the plane, is what probably troubles us most.

How dare they!

How could partners in a business whose mission it is to make sure people arrive safely at their destination put themselves above those they have been called to serve? I certainly don’t want to spend my hard-earned money to fly on an airline that treats me like a second-class citizen.  Do you?

And this is exactly why a lot of people are going to spend eternity in hell!

No. I’m not talking about the airline executives.  God’s grace covers them, as well as baggage handlers and TSA inspectors.  I just hope they don’t put the TSA inspectors in charge of heaven’s gate.

Instead, I am thinking of those who never find Jesus because those of us who are already on the journey are more concerned with pulling rank than making room. Perhaps you have heard of churches where people are so comfortable they ask guests to get out of their seats when they arrive for worship.  I think this is probably a rare occurrence, but it helps us make the metaphorical jump from the United Airlines event to Christ’s mission.

How do you respond when you are called on to “die to self” for the sake of those who will be lost if they don’t know Jesus…if they don’t have a seat on the plane? When you leave worship on Sunday do you spend more time talking about what you did or didn’t like about the service than you do the guests you didn’t recognize or take time to meet?  Do you think more about some issue you have with a brother or sister in Christ than you do your neighbor who is headed to hell?

Are you the crew member who sees a passenger as an inanimate object who can be disregarded, or are you a missionary who is praying, “God, give me one person to share your love with today?”

Be honest. Have you prayed this prayer, or something like it…today?  If not, that might explain your attitude, or your behavior.  Bad things happen when we are more worried about our own likes and dislikes than we are the eternal destination of the those who don’t know the Lord.

I am convinced if we pray for the lost, love the lost, and put the lost first, our behavior will change. Can we legally push people out of our way so the church can fulfill our personal desires?


If that’s what we want.

If we think that’s what the Lord wants.

If we think that’s why we are here.

If we think that’s what the church should be.

Or it could be God is shouting from heaven…

“How dare they!”

I guess we must decide what kind of airline we are going to be.

About LJones

Minister and story teller.
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