“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31 NIV)
One of the greatest tests of your character is how you treat people who are trying to serve you. Whether it’s a waitress, a waiter, a clerk, an employee, a secretary, your children, or your spouse, how you treat those who serve you tells me a great deal about you.
In fact, when I’ve been involved in hiring decisions of Saddleback staff, I often take people to restaurants to see how they interact with the server. Someone who is rude and demanding in those situations has a character flaw that I don’t want as part of our team.
Jesus tells us, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). That may be the simplest yet most important character test in the Bible.
The social psychologist Eric Hoffer once said, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” It takes no intelligence at all to be rude.
The best place to practice this important character trait of respect is at home. More marriages are ruined by rudeness than anything else. When I used to do marriage counseling, I was amazed at how many marriages are buried by one little dig after another.
Often we’re the most disrespectful to the people we care about the most. I know people who treat their families in ways they would never treat a stranger.
I read a news story a few years back about a couple that got an annulment on the basis of the husband’s rudeness. The wife went to court and claimed her husband burped all the time. She filed for an annulment. The judge ruled in her favor and granted her an annulment on the basis that if the husband really loved his wife, he wouldn’t burp so much. If it annoyed her to that degree, he should be more considerate and refrain.
Courtesy is just love in the little things. It’s showing respect for people by being kind even in the smallest areas of our lives.
Talk It Over
Why are we often the most disrespectful of people we care about the most?
In which situations do you have the most trouble being courteous?
If your character was being judged by how you treat people who serve you, how do you think it would be assessed?