Or, so I have told myself too many times. So, to people whom I love, I have been rude; to acquaintances and strangers, I have been rude.

Can you relate?

I recognize rudeness faster when I am the recipient than the originator.

Some of the synonyms for this word are as hard to read as my conduct must have been to endure.

ill-mannered, bad-mannered, impolite, discourteous, uncivil, ill-behaved, impertinent, insolent, impudent, disrespectful, cheeky;
churlish, curt, brusque, brash, offhand, short, sharp;
offensive, insulting, derogatory, disparaging, abusive;
tactless, undiplomatic, uncomplimentary

Not the way “church ladies” like to see themselves described, huh? That shoe has fit to well too often!

My words have been rude weapons I knew I should not use – but did. Sorry to also say, even if I managed to avoid them, my body language and facial expressions often were as ugly as the words I was choking back.

I have used as an excuse Life’s tight places to abandon civility, self-restraint, and kindness. All I could see was me in a painful vice, so I lashed out, ignoring anybody else but me.

That stupid silly chant, . . . words will never hurt me . . . didn’t prove right in my life — ever. Other people’s words hurt me! Why did I believe that my angry words would never hurt my husband, child, or friend?

Which is worse, then, my ignorance that they would hurt, or my insouciance they might?

Feeling entitled to be rude is wrong. And yet, people have cut me slack! Thank you. God help me overlook another’s rudeness — and feel sympathy for their painful vice that is squeezing civility, self-restraint, and kindness from their lips!

Any progress I have made in restraining rudeness, is the Lord’s doing – His presence, His word, and His people who showed me gentle words are better problem solvers than angry barbs. (Proverbs 17:27)

Before I was a Christian, a simple statement the Lord made got my attention the way nothing else had:

But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

Gentle words aren’t weak words – from my own experience, I know when I have heard them, they go deep and rein me in. Once, when I let lose a streak of blue words, a workmate said softly,

You know one day you may need to pray, and the Lord won’t know if you are praying or swearing.

You may argue with her theology but not with the effect those words had. (Proverbs 19:25 ) They were the beginning of my trying to control my abuse of profanity. Realizing I never wholly succeeded in restraining my blue streaks was one of many reasons I was willing to go to a Bible study – and there found the help I needed.

Not that I have always taken advantage of the help God offers. I can still be a rude jerk! I am a slow learner, but grateful by His Grace, I can keep trying to rein in my rude words and conduct. (James 3:3-12)

~ Part of self-control is mouth-control. ( Our Daily Bread)

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. (Psalm 141:3)  


Being Rude is Not My Right

Painting: Boat in Moonlight by Jordi Feliu


A former post you might like: A Smoke Alarm for My Words

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