My wife’s cell phone vibrated with an emergency alert at 6:39 PM last night. The urgent message began with two unexpected words, “Be kind.” Wow! That’s quite a warning as we all adjust to this new version of March Madness. With toilet paper and other staples in short supply, kindness can quickly evaporate into rudeness. I Corinthians 13:5 reminds us that selfless and unconditional love “does not behave rudely.” The truth is, you never know what a rude person will say and do. Like the proverbial “bull in a china shop,” they show little concern for the feelings and needs of others.
The Corinthian church certainly struggled with rudeness. 1 Corinthians 11:21-22 indicates that church dinners in Corinth became pure chaos as some rushed to the front of the line and took most of the food, without any consideration for those who clearly needed the food. Others drank so much wine that they arrived intoxicated for the communion service that followed. The Apostle Paul made it clear that God expects a different behavior. Agape love is not rude. Instead, it acts politely and graciously, with good manners. It remains on alert to kindly and patiently address the concerns and needs of others. It never says, “I don’t care what others think and feel.”
Here’s the big question during this unusual time. How can you avoid rudeness? Let me provide a few practical thoughts.
1. Stop expressing whatever comes to your mind.
No, you really do not need to say whatever comes into your mind. By the way, it is probably best not to talk about the Coronavirus all the time. Words can hurt and discourage people. James 3:6 tells us that the tongue is incredibly destructive. Ask the Lord to help you think before you speak. Ephesians 4:29 makes it clear that your words should only build up and convey grace.
2. Graciously surrender what you may be able to have and do to meet the needs of others.
This is a tough one, especially with your school-aged children now home and people cutting in front of you at the grocery store. Philippians 2:4 challenges, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.” Begin each day by praying, “Lord, help me to see beyond myself. Use me to meet the needs of others around me.”
3. Recognize that everything you do and say reflects upon Jesus Christ.
How you behave and speak impacts the testimony of Jesus Christ, either positively or negatively. Agape love is never rude. Instead, it always treats others with graciousness, consideration, and respect! Love keeps emotions under control. It is consistent. It’s not nice one day, and then unpleasant and rude the next. This kind of love always represents Jesus Christ well.
While experiencing a new kind of March Madness, God has dropped a fantastic opportunity right into your lap. What a prime moment to demonstrate to your neighbors and friends the same kind of love that God showed you in sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross (Romans 5:8)! As you face this day, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Don Lough, Jr.
Word of Life Fellowship, Inc.