5 Love does not behave rudely. 1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
By Bro. John L. Cash
All my life I’ve heard folks talk about how different the present time is from times preceding it. I’m sure that’s always been true, but it’s clear that change is accelerating now at a pace unlike anything that’s ever been seen. I suppose it’s mostly because of technology and the Internet. We’re living in a modern “Tower of Babel”; everybody is reading on “the same page.” Unfortunately, much of the time it’s not a very good book people are reading.
There are big things I could write about today (with that in mind), but instead I’m going to tell you about something small. When I’m out and about, I frequently have need to present myself to people I’ve never met before. For instance, last month I went into a business to have my car washed and waxed. I said, “Good afternoon. My name is John Cash.” I fully expected the fellow would say something like, “Hello. My name is Bob Armstrong. Glad to meet you.”
Instead the conversation went exactly like this: “Good afternoon. My name is John Cash.” To which the man replied, “Ok.” And then there was an awkward silence.
Now, in all fairness, the man could have just immigrated from Finland and not been fluent in the English language. But the thing is, this was not an isolated incident. It’s something that happens pretty often.
I’ll tell you what I think has happened. People are taking in information nonstop from cellphones and tablets. But they’re not learning how to have a friendly conversation. And they’re not learning manners.
When I was growing up, adults knew and used manners, and young people were taught manners. My relatives lectured me about my manners (or more often, my lack of them.) At school, our teachers taught us about manners and showed us little 16-mm films about how decent people are supposed to behave. Miss Wanda, my Sunday school teacher, taught me about manners. Books and magazines published articles about manners. Manners were actually “a thing.”
We’re living in a time of great upheaval and turbulence. What passes for “politics” and “media” is actually coarseness and poor conduct. And at the root of it all is (mostly) rudeness and bad manners. This is no way for people to live.
Let’s give diligence to St. Paul’s admonition that “Love does not behave rudely.” And let’s teach the same to our children. Politeness is truly a great virtue. Most of all, it’s the Christian thing to do.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 32 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where we’re trying to teach a toddler to say “please” and “thank you.”) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.