“Of Mature age” is how people of my vintage are described in this country. Probably true where you live. In this age of easy communication it doesn’t take long for terms, such as that, to spread.
But I wonder whether the inclusion of the word “mature” is always appropriate when we see the way many of we “older” folk express our thoughts on matters about which we differ.
Maybe the rudeness and arrogance of many of the younger ones can be put down to the behavior of their elders? The lack of practical example, the failure to nurture because of "busy-ness"?
There are so many points we could throw into a discussion about this, but I think my blogging friend Paul at VTBottomline has brought a very important one to the fore in his article entitled “FACTS ABOUT CIVILITY”.
Reading Paul’s definition of civility raises some very obvious questions when applied to, possibly a majority of, what has become known as “Christianity”.
A courteous act...
CIVILITY is connected to-----Civilization.
An advanced development of society.
Having advanced in cultural or social
Courteous behavior, politeness ? An ADVANCED development of society? Civilized, respectful, gracious?
Now, we could easily dismiss what he says as the rambling of another old feller, like me, but, Paul’s right, and if claims to be a follower of Christ are genuine, as we read what he goes on to write, we would ask ourselves some very hard questions about how we respond to people who disagree with us, or have a different point of view, or………Well you read what he says:
UNFORTUNATELY----Lack of civility can be seen as....
RACISM...A belief that race is
the primary determinant of human capacities and traits.
MISOGYNY...Hatred of women.
MISANTHROPY...Hatred of men.
Paul certainly puts his finger on a few of the appropriated character traits, of many who claim the name of Christian, and as he rightly points out:
All this depends on the heart of the one who is being rude [And we can't know that always.] and on the race or gender of the one who is the object of the rudeness or incivility.
Incivility is NOT appropriate or proper for our society and is certainly out of bounds for a true Christian.
INCIVILITY---in our culture is rampant but not surprisingly so since group or accepted guidelines for personal behavior are boundaries that people who see others to be of value and worth are willing to impose on themselves for the good of all. Our society is now emphasizing the individual to the exclusion of others with little respect for the sacredness of life that should begin before the birth experience. That disrespect for the sacredness of life is slowly permeating the entire fabric of our society.
How I like Paul’s next words as he comes to the crux of the matter, for those claiming to be Christian:
CHRISTIAN CIVILITY---is because of the rule of Christ in our lives, however, and is NOT to be taken from or borrowed from our culture.
Our civility comes from truly loving others as we are loved "in Christ" and that includes loving even our enemies. (my emphasis)
Surely, if you and I really are what we claim we would have no negative comment about Paul’s
THREE FINAL FACTS ABOUT CIVILITY
One--It is not optional for the believer.
Two--It is not our goal. Loving Him in return is our goal and that is what is mirrored in our love for others for good or bad.
Three--It would make for a better society any time we're willing to embrace it.
Remember! Paul’s not speaking about religion, or doctrine, or theology, but simple, plain, indwelling Holy Spirit induced relational behavior expected of followers of Christ.
Of course, as Christians we have no trouble claiming 1 John 4:14 as applicable to ourselves, So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Can we honestly claim these words to be true of us if our LACK of civility towards others indicates otherwise?