After enjoying a pleasant excursion with her daughter, Judy noticed a man intently staring at her as she exited their downtown class. His look sent shivers down her spine. Judy grabbed her child’s hand and hastened to the car.
Photo by: Med Badr Chemmaoui
As she buckled her seat belt, pounding on her car window jolted her. The man had followed her! “Roll down your window,” he motioned.
“No! Move out of my way,” she said and started her car.
He backed away, and Judy safely drove away. But her daughter, who hadn’t noticed the man earlier, objected, “Mama, why were you so rude to that man?”
My friend’s experience raises a question: Should good manners trump intuition and wisdom?
Having been raised in the Deep South, as a child, I often felt they did. But good manners, like love, should not harm anyone—including the user (Rom. 13:10). Neither do they ignore warnings.
The following Scriptures challenged my thinking on how to deal with people. Look at these godly examples of handling contrary relatives and authority figures.
- Jesus’ clear mission and priority was to fulfill His Father’s will. He didn’t let others sidetrack or manipulate Him. When the Jews wanted to kill Him, He couldn’t even trust His brothers (who didn’t yet believe in Him) (John 7:1–10). When they told Him to go to the feast, Jesus said, “‘You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.’ …However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret” (Jn. 7:8, 10 NIV emphasis mine).
- When someone interrupted Jesus’ teaching to tell Him that His mother and brothers wanted to see Him, “He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matt. 48-50 NIV).
With Those in Authority:
- When God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king, Samuel feared King Saul would kill him. To cover his true purpose, the Lord told Samuel to take a heifer and say he had come to sacrifice to the Lord (1 Sam. 16:1–5). Full disclosure would have endangered Samuel and his mission.
- My mama told me it was rude not to respond when people spoke to you—especially those in positions of authority. But when the rulers, Herod and Pilate, questioned Jesus, He gave them no answers (see Luke 23:9; Jn. 19:8-9). (Remember Herod had had Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist beheaded.)
Photo by: Daniela Cuevas
I believe Judy taught her daughter an important lesson that day: Practicing good manners isn’t mindlessly complying with people you don’t trust—no matter what position they hold.
God calls us to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. We don’t have to answer everyone’s questions or “go along to get along.” Using discernment is both godly and wise.
Little Women, Big God releases March 8th! In the chapter on Rahab I show you how to apply biblical ethics to the messy areas of life. Click here to learn more.
Question: Have good manners ever pressured you to deny good sense?
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Debbie W. Wilson
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