Posted by: Mike Willoughby | June 29, 2011

Relationship Matters (Courtesy)

This Intersections topic is about one of my pet peeves.  I don’t have many pet peeves but the increasing lack of common courtesy in everyday life is one of them.  I don’t have to look beyond Central Expressway on my daily commute to see a plethora of examples of discourtesy.  It’s not just on the highway where courtesy is lacking.  Courtesy seems to be an endangered species in America in almost every sphere of life.

Paul writes in our Relationship Matters source passage in Titus 3:2 “to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”  There are many reasons for Paul’s encouragement to Christians to show courtesy to all people including maintaining a good reputation in the community, keeping lines of communication open for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, avoiding unnecessary conflict and maintaining good will within all relationships.  However, I think the main reason for showing courtesy to those with which we cross paths is that it is simply the loving thing to do.

The primary outward sign of a faithful Christian is the love that we show for our fellow human beings (John 13:35).  When we are rude and discourteous, we are not demonstrating love for those around us.  So why is discourtesy so rampant even among Christians?  I think one of the main reasons is the pace of modern life.  Going back to my highway example, why are we competing with the other drivers on the road as if our commute was a NASCAR race?  Will my blocking move to keep that pickup from merging in front of me really get me to my destination any sooner?  Honking horns, blocking moves, sign language and single-rider HOV violations while the rest of us sit in traffic are all symptoms of the disappearance of common courtesy.  The problem extends beyond the roadway.

The incredible pace of life has extended to every area of life.  We are in such a rush to move from one event to another even within our personal lives that we just don’t seem to have time to be courteous to those around us.  For a good illustration of this problem and the increasing rarity of simple courtesy, check out the TV commercials from the Pass it On folks at  The Let ‘em in spot is a good place to start.

This next week, let’s try slowing down and giving courtesy a try.  Open a door, make a hole in traffic, drop a few pennies in the “need a penny” tray by the register and say “yes sir,” “yes ma’am,” “please” and “thank you.”  Courtesy is good for you and good for those around you.  Good advice when relationship matters!

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!

Previous Intersections Articles

Why Me? Three Birthdays Doomsday Preparedness 101

Copyright © 2011 Michael Willoughby. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to author and/or owner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Lack of courtesy is really a symptom of a deeper issue: Pride. People can’t think past their own forehead. Everyone is building their lives based on their own values, priorities, and desires. In and of themselves those things may be good, but when our desires and perceived needs cause us to neglect or supersede the commands of God we are still in sin. We simply have not “died to sin,” even in the church. We are afraid that we are going to miss out on something or that it will cost too much to “consider the needs of the other as more important than our own” so we go our own way. We know we should trust God to give us our daily bread, but we really don’t…and frankly, the consumer mentality in our culture has allowed us to arrive at a place where we aren’t really content with just “daily bread” anyway. Our society likes control (even if it is just an illusion). Religion also gives us an illusion of control, which is why the church is full of believers while disciples are scarce. The solution: Challenge the church with what the Bible really says instead of using it to offer “5 ways to a successful, happier you.” We need to reacquaint ourselves with Jesus and allow him to confront our ignorance and pride. Relationships do matter. We were made for them. We’ve just lost sight of that.
    Thank you for your observations and I appreciate your applications!


    • Hi Michael! Thanks for reading Intersections and for your insightful comment. Always good to hear from a fellow blogger! I think you went straight to the heart of the problem. Pride so often leads to self-centeredness as we enshrine ourselves at the center of our little universes rather than recognize the Master of the Universe as the King of our lives and ruler of our hearts. The original sin is still the most common sin! Check back often!


  2. Thanks Mike. This is so true. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is another place where we can see that patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness are big players. We should all take a second and think, about our neighbor first instead of ourselves.

  3. Mike,

    Right there with ya. I just think to Mathew 20:16. “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” Just think, by letting them in ahead of you, you are actually better off for it! 🙂

    – Bart

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