Civility in Society

Who said this?

“…at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

The Answer: President Barak Obama on January 8, 2011 at the memorial service  for those wounded and killed in Tucson shootings.

What the President said then was true.  And it is today too. Much has been written and reported by the national media over the past few years regarding the increasing coarseness in society. Awareness has been raised about the incivility of vulgar expressions, barnyard humor, and pejorative terms. Yet, it seems the problem is not improving, but waxing worse.  Crude, crass and coarse speech is on the rise.  Guilt is observed in every segment of society.  Star athletes.  Famous movie stars. TV talk show hosts. News commentators.  And politicians. And unfortunately, sometimes among Christians.

Civility has to do with common courtesy and good manners.  It is witnessed in words and deeds that reflect affability, amiability, geniality.

The Bible is plain regarding the impropriety of rude and crude talk among God’s people.

 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out-of-place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  (Eph. 5:4)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Eph 4:31)

Often problems and pressures can fuel our emotions and produce rude words and uncivil actions.  Following the Tucson tragedy the President further advised. “But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.”  How wonderful it would be if this could be practiced in today’s current political climate!

But lack of civility is not just a political problem, or a national issue, but is something we must deal with in our homes, neighborhoods and churches.

Husbands and wives need to show each other kindness, courtesy and respect.  The “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, says “Love has good manners.”  Our children follow our lead.  Their respect or lack of it will often be a reflection of the degree of our civility in the home.

The second great commandment teaches “love your neighbor.”  The golden rule states that we need to treat others the way we want to be treated.  Our social relationships need to be punctuated with politeness.

Brethren have a unique bond in Christ.  We share the same spiritual blessings.  The same Heavenly Father.  The same goals. Dreams.  Aspirations. Our commonality in Christ ought to produce a different spirit than the world. Civility is seen in our humility, gentleness and meekness.   Paul admonished, “Be kind to one another.’  Kindness breeds civility.  Our actions, attitudes and words mirror the image and influence of Christ.

So while we abhor the national mood that is often impatient, accusatory, uncivil, let us begin with ourselves.  Today and this week look for ways to express empathy.  Communicate compassion.  Demonstrate good manners.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Attitude, Civility

6 responses to “Civility in Society

  1. julie davidson

    dear bro Ken: thanks for the reminder’s! 🙂 have a good week! love in Him, Julie

  2. Sandra Jo, church of Christ, Pine Bluff, AR

    MUCHO THANKS! I absolutely AM going to practice this in the home this week…so it should get easier in the weeks following. And I will copy this blog and post it on my bathroom mirror. WOW! I NEEDED THIS! Like my husband Richard says, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

  3. Ken:
    Thought you might enjoy this quote in response to your well-done article on civility:

    “Don’t suppose that because you are close to someone that gives you some sort of license to be rude, abrupt, nasty, impatient, or disrespectful. Indeed, the closer the relationship, the greater the necessity of civility, diplomacy, kindness, and respect if you desire to maintain and enjoy a healthy and mutually rewarding association.” –Sir Winston Churchill

    And I would add that the above behaviors of a healthy and respectful relationship is especially important in the marriage relationship. When we start to take our partner in marriage for granted and begin treating him or her as “common” or in a careless and disrespectful manner we are on the road to marital disaster.

  4. I got this website from my friend who told me regarding this website and now this time I am
    visiting this website and reading very informative articles at this place.

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