Monday, May 16, 2011

A Lesson in Rudeness

I was at McDonalds today and in less than an hour watched two different arguments between complete strangers. Both started with one person being extremely rude to another.

ImageIn the first situation a young man was in line ordering. He had his ears gauged but had taking the gauges out. This left a huge hole in his ear lobe. Though I do not find that particular style of body piercing to be particularly attractive, it's his ear so I just decided to look elsewhere. The man in the next line over decided to make a rude comment. He said that he found the boy's ears "disgusting" and then went on to say that he thought it was "unfair" that the boy would come into a place with "gross ears" and expect us to eat. The boy made some comments back. I thought for sure the two were going to come to blows. Finally, the boy took his order and left in anger. I am sure he was embarrassed. Though I did not care for his ears either, I thought it was rude for a stranger to comment publicly on them and speak negatively to others about it.

The second situation happened about 30 minutes later. Two older ladies were having a conversation between themselves and said something negative about a politician. In my opinion, the statement was accurate, but I was not a part of the conversation so I just kept eating my salad. They were talking quietly between themselves, not loudly or addressing any of the other patrons. But apparently one fellow three tables away heard it because he suddenly jumped up and ran over to the ladies screaming at them about how the previous politician in that office was far worse than the current one. The ladies were quite taken about by his brash interruption into their private conversation. They responded by saying they disagreed with the young man. But he want on and on, berating them for their opinions. Finally two older men nearby told him to sit down or they would intervene. He sat down but kept making comments. Being a bit frustrated by his rudeness, I snapped a picture of him having his tantrum. He saw me take the picture and stormed out angry. (It occurs to me that it was rude of me to take his picture without his permission, so I'm guilty of rudeness too!)

As I reflect on this experience, it just seems so odd that complete strangers were all so rude together. Why did they feel so compelled to speak their opinions publicly to people they did not know? Why did they cause a scene? What has happened to our society when such behavior has become acceptable?

Lord, help us all learn to respect each other more.



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

11 comments:

  1. Arika Dorsett, Lynchburg, VAMay 17, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    I like this.

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  2. Amber Kelley, Orange, VTMay 17, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    This is happening more and more - I had a total stranger make a nasty comment to me in a store this weekend too, about something that she didn't have any business going on about, which wasn't 'wrong' and didn't affect her in any way shape or form.

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  3. Rosanna Benjamin, Barre, VTMay 17, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    I like this.

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  4. Sara Rhodes, Barre, VTMay 17, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    It is the dissention being created by our leaders, I feel. I have always had a number of opinions, but I have never expected anyone to live by my opinions, they're mine. I have observed a growing number of angry and disgruntled people - Christians included - who feel their opinions should matter for others. Going as far as to shove it down their throats and mistreat eachother for it. I am still shocked when I see it. What gives any of us the right?

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  5. Cherry Charping, Anderson, SCMay 17, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I like this.

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  6. I like this.

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  7. Susan Van DeusenMay 17, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I've been thinking about this... If someone attacks us, as happened with these people, what is the best way to respond? "A soft answer turns away wrath."

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  8. Down South we have a saying, "Well honey, Bless your Heart." Said with a twang... Always turns away wrath. :)

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  9. I like this.

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  10. It's a catch 22 - if we point out his bad behavior then we are guilty of the same type of thing he is. " The people will do what is right in their own minds" - so do we stand up - and risk looking hypocritical; or do we sit silently and allow things to get worse because we are not willing to stand up for what is right?

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  11. Susan Van DeusenMay 17, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I think it's possible to respond with grace. For example, the guy that confronted the two women... Maybe say something like, "thank you for sharing your opinion. That's something I love about this country. We are free to have and speak about our differing opinions." just a thought.

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