Courtesy is something we are to owe each other not because others deserve it but because we care about them.
Paul once said to the church at Rome, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
So often we find ourselves much more courteous to strangers and friends than our own family members and relatives. Our justification then is that they don’t deserve it or maybe not as much. That’s half the problem, I think.
The other half can be when those who are shown courtesy simply take it for granted. Have you ever said “thank you” to someone, and they choose not to acknowledge it? Or have you ever held the door open for someone and they failed to acknowledge the courtesy but simply walk right through as if it was an automated door?
Some folks have issues with saying thank you to others maybe because they always look themselves as above others. Some others may have issues with acknowledging the words of gratitude simply because they don’t want to remember being helpful to others but themselves.
Imagine someone being awarded Employee of the Month while such person struggles to show the slightest care at home.
Whenever we see a human being, the least we probably should expect is courtesy, a two-way courtesy.
A while back, I ran into an individual at a local store. The person was hiccuping. I offered to get a bottle of water from the vending machine for the person. Yet, a courteous rejection came forth, “No, it’s ok”, maybe to sum up the feeling of embarrassment. But the hiccups persisted more and more. Minutes later after I had cashed out, I stopped by the vending machine and got a bottle of water and brought it over to the individual. The outcome then was a grateful acceptance.
I may not have looked like the “typical” person to be receiving items from. Yet, I offered to help, and maybe persisted a little when things didn’t seem to be improving. Thank God the individual received the help.
How many of us would accept help from one person and not the other, being concerned of what “receiving the help” might entail? Some would see themselves as weak, needy, embarrassed, humiliated, and quite offended if they were to be helped by others without their asking.
So for those who would rather ask for the help before they can welcome it, Christ said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
For the rest of us, God’s blessing, God’s help just pours over us like rain.
Sometimes, we just have to be thankful that there are still individuals who not only can help but are still more than willing to help. Thankful to God, that is.
Christ came to help many who didn’t even know that they were in need of help. Some chased him away. Others planned to capture him. Others planned to kill him. And the best way he ever helped was giving himself up to show us there’s nothing he wouldn’t give us, especially when we asked him for whatever that maybe. We asked Christ for his life, and because of his love for us, because of his love for his Father, he was more than willing to give his life to us and for us.
Now, that’s courtesy beyond courtesy because he cares.
How much does God care? As John once said, this much:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:16-21)
After all, as far as our sins, God is over it. His business now is to see us know such and live by such. And this is why Paul wrote, that
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
People’s sins were counted against Christ on the cross so that me and you today could be reconciled with the fact that God loves us beyond our own comprehension.
Father, I hope and pray in the name of Jesus that we do not feel ashamed or embarrassed or even offended when one comes to our aid, especially when we don’t even know that we need help and how much of help we need. Even Christ needed help to be unmounted from the cross and have a proper burial according to customs as you had foretold. Have us graciously and joyfully receive those who dedicate themselves to help us no matter who we are. And Jesus, those who walk in and out of our presence without one sense of gratitude, be our patience to serve them with understanding not counting their sins against them, but against you Lord, for you alone had said to bring it all to you so that we may find rest in you. In your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.