Monday, December 04, 2006

Politeness

Politeness, Political Correctness and Relational Communication have something positive in common. They are surface attempts with words to be friendly, not to cause offense to be taken, and to avoid confrontation. Aren’t these good traits? Yes, I said that they were positive. I also said that they were surface attempts. They are mechanics. Teaching the little boy to say, “Thank you” is not the same as teaching thankfulness to the little boy. Certainly, things are more pleasant in a polite society.

I was taught politeness as a little boy. Then I was really taught it when I was a midshipman at the Naval Academy. I was being trained to be an officer and a gentleman. I found out that politeness worked, standing when ladies came into the room, opening car doors for the ladies, etc.

I found these positive mechanics were not the outward expression of the heart. They did not express kindness, love or patience. In many cases they hid or covered up unkindness, unlove and impatience.

Isn’t that better than expressing unkindness? My temptation is to say, “Yes.” But it is a temptation from the enemy. Why must I choose the lesser of two evils when I have a clear command?

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

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