The word, “rude,” is an adjective that is defined as, “Offensively impolite or ill-mannered.” The definition goes on to say, “Having a startling abruptness.”

The word, “polite,” is also an adjective that is defined as, “Having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.”  The definition also describes the word as “relating to those who regard themselves as more cultured and more refined.”

Being polite is both a matter of choice and upbringing. Not everyone has an opportunity to be raised by people who are polite. Some children grow up in environments where people are crass. The definition of crass is, “lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence.”

However, as a person matures, they have a choice to develop polite manners that will be more well-received. Part of that development must begin with the acknowledgement that politeness is valued, and that being rude to others has no place in Godly living.

Love is Not Rude

The scripture is an excellent source of bettering our understanding. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (ESV),speaks to us about how love is not rude. “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.”

Clearly, there is an undeniable connection between a lack of love and rudeness. When people act rudely, they are lacking love. Often, they cannot show love, or loving characteristics, because they do not have love.

The scriptures tell us that if we don’t have love, we don’t know God. “Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love,” 1 John 4:8 (ESV).If we say we know God, and love God, but don’t show love to others, we are deceived. God is love, and love is not rude.

Love’s Response

As believers and followers of Christ, we do know God; we are filled with God’s love, and therefore display the Christ-like characteristics that show evidence of that love. We have no reason to be rude. We have every reason to be polite. Why would Christians need to be impolite or ill-mannered? We have an assurance of God’s love for us and therefore can demonstrate that goodness and good will to both ourselves, and to others.

When others are rude to us, we must be clued in to the fact that they are lacking the love of an all-loving God in their lives. Instead of becoming upset or indignant with them, we must resist the temptation to become offended with them, but rather, be kind and patient with them, recognizing we have a love they do not know. The kindness and the love we show them may be all the love they have. We can show that love to them, because with our God, we have an endless supply—love–enough for everyone—love–enough to go around!

Make Love the Priority

When it comes to getting along with other people in a God- honoring way, we are to consider others worthy of value, and not put our own agenda first. Philippians 2:3 (ESV) says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” If the Bible tells us not to do anything out of rivalry or conceitedness, we need to look at our own lives, the motivation of our own hearts, and how we treat one another, and see if there is something that we need to do differently.

What we say and how we act can make a difference.Proverbs 15:1 (ESV) says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  When someone speaks to us, we have an option to be kind or to be rude. We all know what can happen if we do not heed these words, but still they can be difficult to carry out. We cannot expect that the other person will always be the polite one, and we can get away with being rude. We must each take our God-given responsibility to do our part. If we do not, we are sinning. As we see in the scripture, that if we know to do good and don’t do it, we are sinning.  James 4:17 (ESV) says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” We have no excuse. Being rude is not an option. Let love rule!

Article Written by: Debbie Harper, Ph.D.