Objective-in-Jesus: Courtesy

“Each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on each other. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block in another’s way.”  Romans 14:12–13 (NIV)

Our objective-in-Jesus is to maintain courtesy and respect, even when we disagree with one another. When another is rude to you, you aren’t required to respond with rudeness. Consider if a response of rudeness comes from Jesus-in-you or from your own “desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1 NIV).

Jesus teaches us to respond to rudeness, or even heart-deep evil, with the more-powerful-every-time response of kindness. Paul, the blind man of the Damascus Road, says we’re to use the spiritual weapon of courtesy motivated by good: “Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good” (Romans 12:21 MSG).

Paul also says, in essence, that God does not see reactions, but only actions. Regardless, we’re responsible for our own behavior, our own choice of response: “Each of us will give an account of himself to God, therefore let us stop passing judgment on each other” (Romans 14:12–13 NIV).

This echoes Jesus, when he talks about out tendency to be blind ophthalmologists: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 NIV). Courtesy carries the same strength as a gentle answer, which turns away anger and rudeness (Proverbs 15:1).

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