Yesterday I was walking into the store and a nice young man held the door for me. I made sure I told him ‘thank you.’ In fact, I actually said, “Thank you very much” because it seems like there’s not as many people holding doors for others as there used to be.
A few days ago I was driving down the road, when a lane was blocked due to some construction and was merging into the one I was in. I slowed down and waved a lady in a van to come on over in front of me.
Manners are a form of communication to each another. What we communicate is up to us. Ideally, as Christians, our manners should reflect the love of God. John 13:34 tells us that we ought to love others as Christ loved us. Ephesians 4:2 asks us to be patient with everyone in humility and gentleness. Phil. 2:4 encourages us to look out not just for our own interests, but for those of others too.
So last week I was driving and about to turn a corner when the person walking on the sidewalk, staring intently at their phone (without ever looking up) began to stroll across the street right in front of my car. Thank God, I noticed him before I turned so I stopped to wait. And, get this, he never looked up to acknowledge there was a car coming at him, even after he finished crossing! I don’t know if he was ignoring me or was totally oblivious to the fact that he was almost hit by a car. Was he never taught to look before crossing a street or was he a blooming idiot? (Sorry, I was a little upset.) He was most definitely unaware of anyone else but himself!
I guess it’s this selfish behavior that bothers me the most; I feel it’s very ungodly. However, I can be the same way too sometimes.
Yes, I’m a sinner restored to His grace just like all of us. I know the scriptures — love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it isn’t proud, etc….all of 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the “love” chapter. I had to memorize this in the tenth grade (thank you, Mr. Schottletner), but can I represent this kind of love all the time? Of course not. So there’s grace. Yet, it is the goal I’m aiming for. I’m hoping to treat others the same way I want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
So what do I do when I fail at good manners or when others fail around me? Brother Paul exhorts me to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to them — and myself — just like Jesus is. (Eph. 4:32) I can try my best to be an example, a representation of Father’s love here on earth, and I can speak up if I need to when unacceptable language or behavior is affecting me. (This happened in the ER with my mom a few weeks ago where a lady was foul-mouthing loudly and being rude so another lady called her on it asking her to “Tone it down, please!” She was gentle but firm. Set boundaries y’all.)
Nobody is perfect, but manners matter. On a day to day basis they are our tool to connect us together and show what’s in our hearts towards one another.
Romans 12:10— Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
I can honor others by using my manners — speaking with respect, being kind, and having patience. I can look others in the eye (instead of a screen) when they’re talking to me, help a stranger find their dog or give them directions, or be understanding when dealing with an older person. I’ll try to do my best. Manners matter.