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Summary: This characteristic of love appears to be rather out-of-date. I mean, we are living in a world that seems to be torn apart by all kinds of hatreds, national conflicts, racial strife, class warfare, & even religious hostility. Yet Paul says, "Love is not rude." (Powerpoints Available - #353)

MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request #353.)

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Luke 7:36-50

A. As most of you realize, during the last 2 weeks I have based my messages on Paul's description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a where he wrote:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self?seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Just imagine, If we would really put this love into practice in our homes & in our relationships with others, it could turn our world right side up!

B. Now this morning I want to draw your attention to a characteristic of love that is mentioned at the very beginning of Vs. 5. The apostle Paul says, "Love is not rude." In other words, "Love is polite."

ILL. The J.B. Phillips N.T. paraphrases this with these words, "Love practices good manners."

But at first glance, that characteristic of love appears to be rather out-of-date. I mean, we are living in a world that seems to be torn apart by all kinds of hatreds, national conflicts, racial strife, class warfare, & even religious hostility. And I'm sure it was possibly even worse back in Paul's day.

Yet he makes it a point to tell us, "Love is polite; love is not rude." And the shortage of this characteristic may be key to a lot of the problems we face today.

Politeness is defined as "having good manners, being considerate of others, being courteous." And all we have to do is to turn on the TV news to be con-vinced that the message of consideration for others is desperately needed in our world today.

ILL. The March issue of the "Reader's Digest" a few years ago had an article titled "How to Raise Polite Kids in a Rude World." In it, the author said, "Mention ill?mannered children & most people roll their eyes....

He wrote, "I still get angry about an incident that happened last summer. We were staying at a country inn that had a small movie theater. Each evening, before going to the theatre, my husband & I instructed our 3?year?old son that he would need to sit quietly in there. And he did. Except for an occasional whispered question, he sat in rapt attention.

"The soundtrack, however, was impossible to hear. That's because two children bounced on their seats, talked loudly & raced up & down the aisles. Never once did I see either of their parents. After several evenings of this, I followed the children to the dining room. There sat a man & woman enjoying a leisurely meal.

"I said to them, 'My family is having a hard time watching the film with your children running all over the theater. Do you think if they're not interested in the movie, you could keep them out here?'

"The father regarded me coolly. 'We've paid for the use of the inn's facilities,' he said. 'Our children can go anywhere they please.'

"I was dumfounded. What could make a seemingly rational couple condone behavior that is so obviously rude? Have we as a society become so consumed with our own desires & the impulses of our children that everyone else's rights are ignored?"

I. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COMMON COURTESY?

A. So let me ask a question, "Whatever happened to common courtesy?"

ILL. A few years ago I heard about a man who stopped to hold the door open for the woman coming behind him. But instead of expressing appreciation, she was irate. She said, "You don't have to hold the door open for me just because I'm a woman."

He answered, "I didn't hold the door open because you're a woman. I held the door open because I'm a gentleman."

ILL. I can remember years ago going to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play, & standing in the midst of crowds of people when the national anthem was sung. As we stood there almost everyone put their hand over their heart, & we felt a sense of reverence & awe as we stood & sang together.

But do I need to say anything further about how some are acting when the national anthem is sung today?

And images of people rioting in the streets or disrupting even the highest officials of the land with obscene language & gestures are being shown to us almost daily.

B. But it wasn't always that way. I remember when growing up that my parents were sticklers for good manners. We sat at the table & they said, "Sit up straight, put your napkin on your lap, & never put your elbow on the table. And always remember to say 'Please' & 'Thank you.'"

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