Uncommon Courtesy

Text: Romans 15:1-6


I.         Sometimes I have to wonder what happened to common courtesy. The phrase needs to be changed because it seem common courtesy has become uncommon.

            A.        Courtesy is “the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others”

                        1.         It comes from a French word meaning “courtly ideals; chivalry, chivalrous conduct; elegance of manners, politeness”

            B.        It used to be a subject taught to young people.

                        1.         I found list of “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” that George Washington had copied at the age of 16.

                                    a.         Rule 35: “Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.”

                                                (1)       In other words, when you speak be concise

                                                (2)       Reminds me of Proverbs 17:27-28

                                    b.         Rule 40: “Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.”

                                                (1)       See I Peter 2:18 and Proverbs 25:15

                                    c.         Rule 44: “When a man does all he can though it succeeds not we blame not him that did it.”

                                                (1)       In other words, when a person does his best and fails, don’t criticize him.

                                                (2)       Romans 15:2;5 - We ought to encourage others

                                    d.         Rule 45: “Being to advise or reprehend anyone, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private; presently, or at some other time; in what terms to do it and in reproving show no sign of choler but do it with all sweetness and mildness.”

                                                (1)       In other words, when giving advice or criticism, consider where, when, and how it should be given. Don’t show yourself to be peevish but kind and gentle.

                                                (2)       Proverbs 15:23; 25:11

                                    e.         Rule 47: “Mock not nor jest at anything of importance, break no jest that are sharp biting, and if you deliver anything witty and pleasant abstain from laughing thereat yourself.”

                                                (1)       In other words, don’t make fun of anything that is important to other people, don’t tell jokes that hurt other people, and don’t laugh at your own jokes.

                                                (2)       Proverbs 15:28; James 3:17

                        2.         What do you notice about these samples?

                                    a.         They apply the ideas that you consider others more important than self - Philippians 2:3-4

                                    b.         They emphasize treating others as you would like to be treated - Matthew 7:12

II.        A love for people

            A.        When Paul traveled as a prisoner, he was treated courteously - Acts 27:1,3

            B.        The problem of selfishness

                        1.         Alexander Campbell once noted, “A selfish person is always impolite, ungentlemanly and unchristian in his manners.”

                        2.         Within every rude man is a selfish spirit.

                        3.         Our earlier read of Philippians 2:3 we are to do nothing from selfishness or conceit.

                        4.         It leads to so many other problems - II Corinthians 12:20

            C.        Learning to be polite, then, first starts with examining how we value other people

            D.        When we sooth others, we improve their lives - Proverbs 15:4

III.       Learning courtesy

            A.        Good habits are best established from a young age - Proverbs 22:6

                        1.         Even if someone isn’t taught politeness as a child, he will be forced into learning it. You can get far in business without some degree of manners.

            B.        Older people understand that politeness costs you nothing and gains you much

                        1.         The righteous know what is acceptable - Proverbs 10:32

                        2.         Young people often make the mistake of thinking that the way to excel and move forward is to tear down everything around you until you are the only one left.

                        3.         Older people realize that everyone benefits when each person is encouraged to reach his highest potential - Ecclesiastes 10:12

            C.        We need to curb the impulse to respond as others respond to us - Proverbs 15:1

IV.      Teaching courtesy

            A.        And if we are going to teach others, we will succeed through courteous speech - Proverbs 16:21-24

            B.        Set the example for others - I Peter 5:5

                        1.         You won’t see an immediate change, but over time your friends will notice there is a difference between the way they are treated by others and the way you are treated.

                        2.         Then they will see you as someone worth imitating - I Timothy 4:12

V.        God is watching

            A.        God is aware of everything we say - Proverbs 15:3

            B.        We will be judged by even our idle words - Matthew 12:36

            C.        Will courtesy become more common in your life?

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