One of the definitions that Webster applies to the word “rude” is “discourteous & impolite.” The English word “rude” is found only once in the Bible (2 Corinthians 11:6) “But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.” but does not carry the definition noted above.
However, the Bible does note that we are to have the character of one who is not rude in the sense as defined above. Oh how people today need to understand and practice not being rude. It seems that people seem to make a fine art of being rude. Even when extending a helpful hand one may be met with a rude reply. When there is disagreement many see that as an automatic licence to be rude.
The sad fact is that rudeness has even found its way in among the church. God’s people should desire and seek after happiness, kindness, joy, goodness, etc,…..; yet these cannot truly be gained by means of rudeness. Often people find a certain contentment and satisfaction in their being rude. However, such is an evil contentment and wicked satisfaction with selfishness being at the core of these actions.
Truly those who seek to follow the Lord will seek after goodness and hospitality that will reflect Godliness. God calls for Christians to extend this kindness, hospitality and goodness to one another as seen in the verses that follow:
Romans 12:10 – “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”
Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
John 13:35 – “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 15:12 – “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
1 Pet 1:22 – “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”
We do not use the harshest and most spiteful word on the ones whom we love. We always teach our children to be respectful to the elders and teachers. Have we forgotten the teachings of our Lord when we deal with our brethren? Are children the only ones who need a lesson on manners? It is very surprising that Timothy, a younger preacher, needed a reminder. (1 Timothy 5:1-3) “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows that are widows indeed.”
Having spiritual authority does not remove the need to respect those who are older. Like Timothy, all of us should treat people older as our own parents. This is not just manners but sincere reverence. Those who are younger should be treated as our own siblings. For men, most importantly, when interacting with church members of opposite sex, we treat them either as mothers or sisters, with purity.
Perhaps we do not speak harshly to older people. But, have we treated them with dignity and honor as the Bible required?
How are my church manners? Especially when someone has disagreed with me or hurt me? Do I treat people in the family of God the same way I treat my parents and siblings?
(1 Peter 3:8) “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”
Often, “how” we say is always louder than “what” is being said. Let us heed the Lord’s command that is to be humble in our ways and in our speech when dealing with one another.
Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God –
With these three things as your rule and your rod
All things worth having are yours to achieve
If you follow God’s words and have faith to believe!
~ Helen Steiner Rice