Reminder #7: Be Courteous
Remind them . . . to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (Titus 3:1–2, ESV)
To understand the force of Paul's reminder, we ourselves need to remember that Paul's writing to his apprentice Titus, who is ministering on the island of Crete. The Cretans had nasty reputation (we've even imported their name into the English language as a derogatory term). Even Paul himself knew they were a rough bunch (Titus 1:12).
You know, it's much easier to be nice to people who are already nice. True evidence of God's working our hearts is when we're courteous to people who don't deserve it -- people who are rude, harsh and otherwise unkind.
We're reminded of these virtues in couple other scriptures:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Romans 12:14, ESV)
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9, ESV)
Because of the nuance of the biblical language, this phrase in Titus 3:2 is translated several different ways:
“perfect courtesy” (RSV), “a consistently gentle disposition” (NEB), “every consideration” (NASB), “always … a gentle attitude” (TEV), “true humility” (NIV).
Whatever the exact translation, the meaning is clear. An attitude of gentle humility and grace should permeate all our interaction with all people. Tall order, huh? The entire Christian life is. Everything he asks us to do is impossible without the indwelling Holy Spirit who enables us to live up to these otherwise impossible standards.
Let's be wise and listen to God's reminders. He doesn't mind giving them and we shouldn't mind getting them.