Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Matter of Manners

Thank you.
You’re welcome.
Here, you can go first.
What may I do to help you?

Ah, the sounds of good manners. Of course, we can’t always use words in every situation but the attitude behind them comes through. And boy! Don’t I just want to teach some basic manners to those whose attitudes are lacking. Like out on the road. Polite just isn’t part of the motorists vocabulary, I guess.

I’ve sort of grumbled to the Lord a time or two about how mean and rude people can be. In His family even. And why do I have to forgive them when they don’t seem to be one bit sorry. Can’t I just go in there and knock some manners into ‘em? With words, of course. If you’ve read my post about the Beginning of the Shining, you’ll know how physically frail I am and how unlikely to pose any bodily threat. But I might be able to overwhelm them with words.

Oh my. Just about the time my grumbling reaches a pinnacle, I come across things like this:

“For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” (Romans 14:2-4, The Message, emphasis mine)

Still I argue. “What about how Person A ‘corrected’ Person B so rudely? Person A sure didn’t read this instruction very well, did they?”

I get a gentle re-direction to a conversation between Jesus and Peter. A concept presented while beachcombing. I can just picture them, robe hems tucked up to keep the sand from clinging. Peter picking up pebbles and chucking them out into the waves. Jesus picking up a shell, holding it to his ear, smiling. Peter telling Jesus how much he loves him. And the Lord giving him a heads up about where his head’s going to end up. Oooh. Not a fun topic. Peter looks for a diversion.

“Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, 'Master, what's going to happen to him?' Jesus said, 'If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you? You—follow me.'" (John 20:21-22 The Message)

Okay then. Point taken. Whenever I say, “What about THEM, Lord?” He says, “Never you be concerned about them. You and I are working on you. There’s more than enough right here for you to pay attention to. Whatever I do with them is my business and theirs. You, follow me.”

You know, I think I can see to follow Him a whole lot better when I’m not glaring over there at those ill-mannered in-process-with-Jesus-and-none-of-my-business folks.


  1. I tell myself over and over on the road that it has become a mantra of sorts: "Why are you so concerned about them? They probably don't notice a lick of you, and even still, why are you so concerned?"

    That's some really good advice off the road too, like the cute little quote you put up by Mark Lowry. You and I may have differing details as far as spirituality and self goes, but that is darn right the truest truism. Along the same lines as you can't control and change others, only yourself, and even that is freakin difficult enough!! I bet that's why we seek to control and change the outside, because other people's problems seem easier to "fix", but often times they aren't other people's problems even. It's our problems with them, and actually in more honesty, our problems with ourself.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Kimberly! I am honored with your responding. Love that we can connect even while differing. You are always a blessing in my life.