Question:

Every time I attend worship, the older people like me more than people my age. Why are older people so much nicer and more respectful than young people? There are no young people as nice and respectful as older people. I wish our young people were nice like the older people.

Answer:

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Colossians 4:6).

Since you are among the young people, I would hope that you, at least, are an exception to the rule.

Politeness is something which is taught and, unfortunately, parents in our country are less involved in the raising of their children than they were years ago. For older people, politeness is a long established habit. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Young people will eventually be forced into learning politeness. You can't make it very far in the business world without some degree of manners.

With age also comes wisdom. Older people understand that politeness costs you nothing and gains you much. "The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse" (Proverbs 10:32). Young people often make the mistake of thinking that the way to excel is to tear everyone around you down until you are the only one left. Older people realize that everyone benefits when each person is encouraged to reach their highest potential. "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up" (Ecclesiastes 10:12).

"The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:21-24).

You can't make the young people do what is right, but you can set the example. "Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble"" (I Peter 5:5). You won't see an immediate reaction, except perhaps scoffing from your peers, but in time they are going to notice a vast difference between the way that they are treated and the way you are treated by other people. Then the lessons will begin to settle into their hearts. "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (I Timothy 4:12). I used this verse in my lesson last night when I was pointing that preaching is only partly about the words you say. Preaching is also about the life you live. And when the two are in harmony they present a powerful message. (See: "Take Heed").