God is not Rude

“Attributes of Love” Series Introduction:  1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love”, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 lists the attributes of love. So in this series, we’re going to discuss each of the attributes in those verses, one by one, to learn more about the nature of God.

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James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

“The wisdom from above” would be wisdom from God. God surely acts in His own wisdom, therefore God’s behavior is pure, peacable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere. In short, polite!

Some might argue that God seems rude in the Old Testament, for example when God wiped out humanity with a flood. It was certainly decisive and destructive, but was it rude? Well…

 
OK, well what about Jesus? Some of you may not know this, but sometimes Jesus was snarky. He had what my mother would have called “a smart mouth”. Consider Matthew 23, where Jesus goes off on the Pharisees. The Pharisees had been barraging Him with questions, and trying to trip Him up. His responses were clear, well reasoned, and according to scripture. They just couldn’t trip Him up. Matthew says:
 
It is now Jesus turn to speak to the Pharisees. He calls them hypocrites, fools, blind guides, and a pit of vipers. Was Jesus being rude? Well, he wasn’t being nice, but He was saying what needed to be said to get people’s attention. The only things that would actually get people’s attention. And He fully explains why He’s saying what He’s saying. He was probably saying it loud, passionately, even forcefully – like a firey preacher or intense politician. He wasn’t being dismissive or condescending. He was making a persuasive argument. That isn’t the same thing as being rude. 
 

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And Titus tells the church:

Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

We need to submit to authority, do good works, and be courteous not quarrelsome. But we don’t have to be timid or endlessly accommodating! Just like Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, we can speak the truth passionately, stand up for what is right, and call out evil when we see it. When we’re careful to do it only where we have the authority to do it, and when we’re speaking out of love, then it is not rude.

Lord, help me to keep my smart mouth shut when I need to. I don’t always respond out of  love! Sometimes I focus too much on how I feel about something, and not on what you need me to say. I’m not always kind or courteous; I’m sometimes argumentative for no real reason. I often need to apologize. Please teach me how to be strong without being overbearing, to speak truth without being condescending, and to lead with love at all times.

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