Consideration is the Key
“Not hot but…” COLD. Paul uses opposites in this passage as well. “Love is not rude, but it is…” Anyone? The inverse used is KIND. To understand what it means to be rude, it helps to see it contrasted alongside kindness. In this way, we can see what it looks like to be rude, and hopefully how we can avoid rude tendencies that so easily take root in our broken and depraved hearts. So here are some definitions:
Rude: not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people; not polite
When I normally think of a rude people, here’s what comes to mind:
- A person who cuts in line
- A person who presents obscene gestures while driving
- A person who constantly interrupts while someone else is talking
- A person who is on their phone when someone is trying to talk to them
I’m sure you can come up with plenty of your own examples of “That person is just so RUDE!” examples. And you never hear anyone saying, “Wow, that person has such a rude nature – what an attractive character trait!” Most of us would say that we aren’t rude like that, and it’s probably true. But what about the times when you’re tired and grumpy and you just don’t feel like putting up with difficult people? In those times do you show concern for their feelings? I would guess that you can think of at least one time when you blew up at someone and saw the crestfallen look on their face; and in that moment, you weren’t even impolite, you were rude.
Kind: having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature
Now, everybody likes a kind person. Everyone wants to spend time with a kind person, be loved by a kind person: we all desire to be bathed in loving kindness.
Kind Person Qualifications:
- words are genuine and uplifting
- actions go out of their way for someone else
- time is unselfishly spent
- go above and beyond what they have to do for someone else – going a step
- further than is necessary without any expectation of praise or something in return
It’s not always easy to be kind. It doesn’t just come naturally to everyone, and on certain days to no one. Rude people look out for themselves and put themselves first – they give no thought to anyone else because they feel they are more important than anyone else. To be kind, you shouldn’t belittle yourself to the point where you feel you have no value and get burned out by never caring about yourself. However, it’s okay to not be first in line or to go to a crazy amount of extra work to help someone else out, or to talk with the person no one else feels comfortable around. Being rude is easy; it rolls right off the tongue but comes out like a razor-sharp knife. Being kind often only happens when you’re intentional about it – this means you need to make a purposeful effort to be thinking about being kind to others, otherwise what will inevitably come out is rude behavior.
Considerate: thinking about the rights and feelings of other people; careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others
What if you were walking and talking with a boyfriend or a girlfriend? You probably would work to show them consideration. Why? Because you love them of course! Naturally, it’s easy to be considerate toward someone you love.
So what about if you were walking and talking with Jesus? Of course, you’d show Him consideration; you’d Never be rude to Jesus. But what about the times you choose TV or video games over devotions? What about when you “just don’t feel like going to church?” What about when you’re too tired to read your Bible or pray? It’s no different than saying, “You know boyfriend/girlfriend, I just don’t really feel like going on a date today. I know I don’t have anything else planned but to sit around and do nothing, but I’d rather do that than spend time with you.”
Can you imagine hearing those words from the person you loved most? But that’s what our actions and even words say to God all too often. Yes, He loves us unconditionally and if we are His children He will never let us go. But don’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt Him when we effectively ignore Him and prioritize every other thing and person above Him.
Consideration is rooted in love; kindness is rooted in love; rudeness is rooted in a lack of love. In closing, here are some encapsulating quotes:
“By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.” ~Winston Churchill
“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.” ~Maurice Baring
“Kindness: A language which the dumb can speak, and the deaf can understand” ~Christian Nevell Bovee
– Beth Adams, guest author