Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Don’t Mean to be Rude but . . .

A few weeks ago I was eavesdropping on a conversation of a group of teenagers. No, I am not a stalker. But I realized a long time ago that I can learn a lot if I stand a few feet away and just listen to teens talk. If I barge right into the conversation and start sharing my ideas, teens often stop sharing theirs. That seldom helps me learn what they are really thinking. That means that sometimes eavesdropping can be helpful.

This particular conversation was between some girls who did not appear to be getting along very well. As the conversation continued to become more and more tense, one of the girls said “I’m not trying to be rude but . . .” and then went on to say some things that were extremely rude. Her tone of voice, her body language, and the words she used, all indicated that she was indeed being rude and that she both knew she was rude and meant to be rude. Her “I’m not trying to be rude...” introduction was just a ploy to be able to say whatever mean thing she wanted while pretending to be nice.

Though this particular incident involved teens, I have heard similar things among adults. Far too often starting a sentence with “I’m not trying to be rude but . . .” is just a thinly disguised way to be rude and get away with it. While sometimes it might not be intentional, most often it is. Such rudeness, thinly disguised as politeness, fools no one and does not accomplish anything positive.

The world may treat each other that way, but we Christians should aspire to higher standards. We Christians should aspire to treat each other with dignity and respect as brothers and sisters in the family of God. If we do not mean to be rude, then we should not BE rude. If we realize we are being rude, we should stop mid-sentence and apologize. After all, none of us are perfect. What we cannot do is just continue to be rude thinking that we are fooling others into believing that we are polite.

Rudeness will not gain us friends nor bring honor to the Savior. As Christians, we should strive to be friendly (Proverbs 18:24) and we should seek to bring honor to the Savior in all that we say and do (Colossians 3:17). This gives us all something to think about the next time we are having a tense conversation with someone else and are tempted to be rude while pretending to be polite.




For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus.

20 comments:

  1. May we all have a conversational attitude that is "full of grace." I don't mean to be rude... so I won't be. Thanks for this word today.

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  2. Chris Beltrami, Barre, VTApril 27, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    thank you, that was really good

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  3. Becca Sue, Central VTApril 27, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I totally agree with you. I remember when I was in high school and my mom pointed this out and it has stuck with me ever since. Thanks for the reminder!

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  4. Lydia Alayna Stockett, VermontApril 27, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I like this.

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  5. very good thoughts here. We all need to stop and think.

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  6. Bob Sprigg, North CarolinaApril 28, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    Hi Terry! I don't mean to be rude but...

    Just kidding!:)

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  7. Great article. Nicely put.

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  8. Susan Van Deusen, SCApril 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    I like this.

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  9. Wayne Dorsett, Barre, VTApril 28, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    oops! Open mouth insert foot.

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  10. Christopher WrightApril 28, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    I like this.

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  11. I like this.

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  12. Joan O Connor, Spartanburg, SCApril 29, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Yes, yes, yes. Needed that insight and teaching. Thanks.

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  13. "I'm saying this out of love..." is one of my favorites. Whenever I hear that I reach for my helmet, 'cause I know I'm about to get pounded.

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  14. Very good!! I have often thought the same thing. Thanks for putting it into words.

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  15. Exactly! I think we have all been there a time or two and this was well said and tastefully put! Every now and then we all need a good NUDGE from God :)

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  16. I guess alot of people need help with communication lessons!

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  17. Larry Weeks, Montgomery Center, VTApril 30, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I like this.

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  18. Susan Noyes, Concord, VTApril 30, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I like this.

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  19. Well said, Terry. Some of the most hurtful comments I've received have been prefaced like this (or, in my case, "No offense, but..."), & I'm sure my experience isn't unusual.

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