I believe rudeness is becoming an epidemic in the world today – or at least in America. I can’t speak for the rest of the world because I haven’t been there yet. The South has always been said to be one of the friendliest parts of the United States, and some people are, but most of the people I see and observe are rude.
In my opinion (through observation and lots of thought), it’s because self-centeredness truly is an epidemic. As a species, humans are incredibly selfish. Certainly, we can have moments of selflessness, and some are more or less selfish than others. For example, my husband Justin is far less selfish than I am. He is always going out of his way to do things for me, to make sure I’m happy. And although I am learning how to do this, it isn’t my nature to do so. My flesh would prefer to focus on my own needs, not on Justin’s.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is not rude. I think most of us would agree to that. This post isn’t an argument about how being rude is bad – we all agree that being rude is wrong. I can’t imagine anyone saying that there is any excuse for rudeness.
Instead, there are two points I’d like to make. First, how most of us are rude unintentionally and how we need to be more aware of our actions. And second, many of us don’t care at all about being rude to our family, especially our spouse.
Be More Aware
My first point is that we need to learn to be more aware. Most acts of rudeness, from what I’ve observed in my own life and the lives of those around me, are not intentional. We are either tired, selfish, upset, in a hurry, etc. and just aren’t paying attention to our tone of voice and how we are treating people.
The problem is, people are more important than we realize. People are why Christ died. It isn’t just for you and me, it’s for everyone.
I’m not trying to get bossy and preachy. Trust me, I can be just as rude as anyone else. Usually, it’s because I’m tired, hungry, impatient, or just unhappy. I don’t really mean to take it out on anyone, it just happens. There have been times when I felt like someone got an attitude with me and I’d give it back (even though I know I’m not supposed to) and Justin and I would leave and I’d complain about it in the car. He’d say, “Actually babe, you gave her an attitude first.” And I would be shocked. I had no idea! I thought I had been nice. But for whatever reason, niceness was not being portrayed.
How we say something is actually more important than what we say in many cases. If we snap at people or have a critical tone of voice, we aren’t being nice. I know it’s hard to have an upbeat, happy tone all the time. Most of the time, we don’t feel like talking that way. We don’t feel that way inside so why sound that way?
The thing is, the ruder we are to people, the worse it will go for us. Not only will that rudeness come back to us, but it just reinforces our negative feelings. When we are kind to people, when we are friendly and patient, that is what will come back to us. People will be kinder and more patient with us in future. And guess what? You actually feel better when you’re nice to people! I always read that in the Bible:
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
The same principle works for being kind. We feel better inside, happier and more filled with joy when we are friendly to people. Even smiling at someone can raise both their spirits and yours. Ever heard the phrase, “Fake it ’til you make it”? Whether we feel like being nice or not (for whatever reason), when we choose to be nice anyway, we become nicer people and we feel so much better. I guarantee that if you make it a habit to smile and be nicer to the people around you, you’ll feel lighter and happier than ever before!
In Your Marriage
Although the following is true of any close relationship, as this blog is built more for marriage, I will focus mainly on that in this section. However, even if you aren’t married, these truths still apply to your other close relationships.
Our spouse should be our best friend, and for many marriages this is true. That’s great! But you know what I’ve noticed? Our spouse also becomes so familiar to us that we lose the wonder and joy we had when we first got married. Because our spouse sees us through everything, good times and bad, ugly days and great hair days, makeup or no makeup, days where you just can’t stop farting, days when you’re sick, etc. that we take one another for granted.
I have watched so many spouses treat their mate terribly. They snap at one another constantly, fight almost daily, rarely compliment, rarely touch (even holding hands), and the tone of voice they use to one another makes me shudder. They may love one another in words, but in tone, they almost sound like they hate each other.
I’m not judging anyone. I’ve treated Justin like this and there are (rare) times when he’s done the same to me. But God convicts me quickly every time and I’ve realized that out of everyone in my life, my husband should be treated the absolute best. We’re around each other constantly, we’ll be together for the rest of our lives. When our kids move out, we’ll still have each other.
The Holy Spirit is teaching me how to monitor my tone of voice and what I say to my husband. I’m learning that I need to say things sweetly and kindly. Not only does that make him feel good, it makes me feel better too. When I speak harshly to him, it only makes me feel angrier and more negative. I start to almost turn against him, all because of the way I speak to him and think about him.
Too many married couples are rude to one another. It really needs to stop. Our spouse is our partner for life and we should treat him or her with the utmost respect, love, kindness, and patience. Even if he or she doesn’t treat you that way, you can set the example and do the right thing anyway.
In conclusion, if we want to love like God loves us, we have to be more aware of our tone of voice and our actions. We need to make a conscious effort to be kind to others and stop being rude. To be less selfish and more in touch with other people’s needs. That’s also the subject of the next post in this series!
I hope this truth hits you guys that way it hit me. We all need conviction sometimes, even though it doesn’t feel good at first. I know I want to be a more godly, more mature woman and the only way that is going to happen is if the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sinful nature and I repent and allow God to change me.
I really do love you guys and hope that you post in the comments. Like and share with your friends and family as well.
Check out the rest of this series!