I read a thought provoking article on CNN today. At first I groaned a little as the link brought me to an article building from an Oprah show.
Bear with me.
The article talked about the pervasive rudeness in our society today. I could not agree more. You see it on the roads, in the stores, in restaurants, at church, at parks, and everywhere in between. Now, I'm not talking about childhood immaturities that parents are still working to correct. I'm talking about the adults.
Want to see how you measure up? Like any "good" magazine article they have a quiz you can take to see if you are rude or not. What is it about those quizzes? Do they really show us anything we didn't already know? Maybe some things we aren't willing to admit until we are asked point blank on a magazine quiz. Anyway, that's beside the point.
The article referenced cell phone use in particular and the blatant disregard for common courtesy shown by many cell phone users around town. They also focused on the service sector and how they often take the brunt of rude behaviors.
Now, while I heartily agree with their assessment of society, I don't necessarily agree with their conclusions. They seem to draw from this that we need to get back to the rules of common courtesy and people need to follow these rules.
My response dug much deeper. Once again, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Rules will only change the behavior, not the attitude that brought them about in the first place. I believe the core issue is selfishness. It shows up in their rationale for getting rid of rudeness (it can make you sick). As long as we keep our eyes on ourselves and are looking out for our own agenda, our own rights, our own convenience, we will continue to display rude behavior.
I don't think I am generally rude, but I'm sure there are times when I let my bad day pour out on someone it had nothing to do with. Sometimes I might get a little "firm" with a customer service rep that doesn't quite seem to see my side of the issue. Sometimes I pull up the draw bridge and station the guards to protect my "rights." And the result, the recipient would usually interpret as rudeness, as would I if I took a moment to walk in their shoes.
Selfishness shows up at the core of so many of society's ills. Abortion, adultery, fraud, theft, etc. And, it shows up in my life on a daily basis. When I serve my family with reluctance, when I push the snooze too many times, when I ignore a problem and let someone else deal with it, and on and on. A daily battle to deny myself, take His yoke upon me, to walk humbly.
That's their problem. Too many people don't realize where the struggle really lies and don't even realize that they are in a battle. I know my problem and it's a doozy! One I can't resolve on my own.
I lay before you my words, my walk, my thoughts.
May they show You as their Lord.
May others not see rudeness in me, but something different.
May they see You.