Show Perfect Courtesy to All

Paul wrote, “Remind them . . . to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Tit. 3:2). The words “to show” are a present participle in the Greek—“showing forth (endeiknumenous)” or “demonstrating.” We are not only to be courteous to all people. We should demonstrate courtesy to all. We are not only to show courtesy sometimes. We should be showing courtesy all the time continually. The voice is middle voice, indicating action of the subject on itself. Hence, we are to cause ourselves to keep showing courtesy to everyone.

The noun “courtesy” (prautes) means “considerateness.” (Gingrich) It is “a quality of gentle friendliness gentleness, meekness (as strength that accommodates to another’s weakness), consideration.” (Friberg) To be gentle and considerate is to accommodate your strength with another’s weakness.

Randy Kilgore wrote in Our Daily Bread,

A few years before he became the 26th U.S. president (1901–1909), Theodore Roosevelt got word that his oldest son, Theodore Jr., was ill. While his son would recover, the cause of Ted’s illness hit Roosevelt hard. Doctors told him that he was the cause of his son’s illness. Ted was suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” having been pressed unmercifully by Theodore to become the “fighter” hero-type he himself had not been during his own frail childhood.

Upon hearing this, the elder Roosevelt made a promise to relent: “Hereafter I shall never press Ted either in body or mind.”

. . . .

The temptation to press too hard, to demand too much, to force progress, or to orchestrate success can lead us to harm others even when we don’t realize it.”[1]

We are to show courtesy and consideration to all people. Courtesy has to do with “gentleness of attitude and behavior, in contrast with harshness in one’s dealings with others.” (Louw-Nida) Thus, “courtesy” and “gentleness” are the opposite of “roughness, bad temper, sudden anger, and brusqueness [unfriendliness].” (Knight) To show perfect courtesy and gentleness is to avoid roughness, bad temper, sudden anger, and unfriendliness.

Literally, the Greek reads, “showing every consideration for all men.” (NASB). We are not only to show some courtesy to all men. We should demonstrate every courtesy to all men. The implication is that we should show every consideration to all people in all situations. We are to show consideration to all when it’s hard for us to do so and when it’s easy. We are to show consideration to all people in good times and in bad. More, we are not to show every consideration only to some people, but to all people.

That is how we show godly conduct to all people. That is how we impact our world for Christ.

[1] Randy Kilgore, “Gentle Influence,” Our Daily Bread. Cited April 9, 2017. Online: https://odb.org/2016/ 08/30/gentle-influence/.

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