I am concerned about the lack of civility in the Christian community at large. Civility quite simply is “the act of showing regard for others.” In my opinion, civility is treating others the way you want to be treated even when you disagree or fail to see eye to eye. Today, I want to share three ways to express civility to your fellow man.
First, civility says I will not be rude. As Christians, even when we do not care for a person’s attitude or their position on an issue, we can still be kind, courteous, and polite. The Bible says it best in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” Yes, we can be bold in our convictions and passionate about our causes, but under no circumstances should Christ’s followers be rude, mean, and/or disrespectful.
Second, civility says that I listen more and talk less. Sadly, we live in a day and time when people like to jump to conclusions. As a result, people often lead with outrage and hatred the moment someone dares to disagree with them. In fact, we often prematurely attack a person without even getting all the facts. This is why King Solomon warns us in Proverbs 18:13, “To answer before listening – that is follow and shame.” Civility says, I listen to understand not just to come up with a clever response.
Third, civility says that I give others grace. Grace is best defined as, “unmerited favor.” Giving grace to others simply means that we show kindness even when they do not deserve it. Extending grace to others begins with how we talk to them. Our tone of voice matters. Our mannerisms matter. Not returning insult for insult matters. Proverbs 12:16 sums it up best, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Not retaliating is a good way to give grace and express civility to your fellow man.
Yes, civility is treating others the way you want to be treated. It means I will not be rude when we disagree. It means I will listen more and talk less to ensure I clearly understand an opposing viewpoint. It also means, I am willing to give others grace during heated discussions. I leave you today with the words of Jesus Himself found in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
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