It comes in the middle of this well-loved passage:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
This passage says such big things about love, why does it worry itself with small issues like rudeness and irritability, I thought. Surely, these are petty things. Why would the Almighty God stoop to concern Himself with rudeness?
I used to think those portions of the passage were useless, but that’s because there was a time when people treated one another with civility and manners. When manners were employed wholesale, I didn’t appreciate them. Now that they’re passé, I understand God’s interest in highlighting the destructive nature of rudeness.
But when we’re eyeball-to-eyeball with another human and receive unwarranted rudeness or unearned irritability, something about that grinds down a person’s soul, erodes the heart like a steady faucet drip, and breaks the spirit like the silent treatment, or the unanswered call.
I’ve seen men who survived prison snap because a receptionist was rude.
I’ve endured sucker punching betrayals with grace, only to plunge into depression at a loved one’s irritable response to an innocent question.
God knows us.
We can be heroic on the high seas, only to slip and fall in the bathtub.
That’s why we do not truly love until our love is civil, respectful, and good-natured. These are not niceties of a by-gone day, these are the hallmarks of all who respond to the call to love like Christ.
Be careful not to gloss over the passages on love, thinking this is a lesson you passed in an earlier grade. Love is a subject we revisit until we graduate into His arms.
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) August 24, 2017