Love is Not Rude

Over the last couple of months, I have been walking First Baptist Wiggins through a verse by verse exposition of 1 Corinthians 13, also known as “the love chapter.” We’ve made it to the first couple of words in verse 5 that teach the truth that “Love is not rude.” I want to share what we learned with you.
 
Whenever I think of what it is to be rude, I think back to something that happened to me about 30 years ago in Atlanta GA. My uncle had driven me and my cousin there for a Braves game and we were checking into our hotel. The line for check in was quite long, as it was the weekend that the Braves would play their arch-rivals the Philadelphia Phillies. The man in line behind my uncle made me uncomfortable because he was trying to stand as close as possible to keep others from breaking in line. I did not want to get separated from my adult, so I tried to squeeze in between him and my uncle, when he promptly shoved me out of the way. 
 
I have never and will never forget the day that a 40 something year old man shoved me, an 8-year-old kid, to keep me out of his space. Every time I hear or think about the word “rude,” I think about this event that happened in my life. After an in-depth study of what it is to be “rude,” the scene proves to be a very good illustration. 
 
The Greek word translated “rude” by the ESV in 1 Corinthians 13:5 means to behave “unseemly or dishonorably.” To be rude is to push someone around with your words or actions. It is to react in a way that is unbecoming of a human being. Usually, a person commits and act of rudeness in reaction to a perceived invasion of their space. 
 
If you are like me, then you have probably already thought of a time when someone was rude to you. I encourage you to search much deeper, though. The truth is that we have all been rude at times. Everyone at some point in their human experience has felt trespassed against, has had a person step into their space uninvited and unwelcomed, and has pushed back with unkind words or actions to put people back in their place. 
 
1 Corinthians 13:5 teaches us that it is never acceptable for a Christian to act with rudeness. God is love, and love is not rude, therefore God is not rude. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, and into whose image we are being formed, never reacted in a rude way when trespassed upon.  He was never triggered by other people’s behavior towards Him. He never reacted in an unseemly way. In every circumstance, He honored His Father in heaven, and He called us to do the same. 
 
Rudeness is difficult to guard against because rude reactions are difficult to see coming. We live in a world full of broken people who are bound to trespass on our space. On top of that, we are broken and prone to react in an unholy way when transgressions are committed against us. 
 
Aren’t you glad that the Lord is not like us? What if He were so easily triggered to lash out against the trespasser? He came and loved to perfection, but His loving guidance was perceived by the world as an intrusion. The world reacted rudely by murdering Him, yet He did not return evil for evil. Instead, He willingly gave up His life on the cross for those who hated Him. 
 
To love your neighbor as yourself requires a level of restraint that can only come from having a relationship with the One who is Love. By “having a relationship,” I mean that one must walk with Jesus and be in constant communion with Him to avoid being triggered by other broken people’s actions. When we recognize that we are loved infinitely more than we deserve, we are much more prone to love as we should and react to trespasses with grace and mercy.  
 
Remember today that love is not rude. It is not triggered to react in an unseemly way. Love responds to wrongdoing with gentle correction wrapped in grace. Resist reacting to trespasses by pushing people around with your words and actions. Remember, instead, how Jesus reacted to your trespasses against him.