My topic this week is good manners. Why good manners? Well, for one thing, they seem to be in short supply these days, and our worlds are becoming less and less civil and polite and that just adds another level of stress to our everyday lives. Secondly, good manners means simply being considerate of others, and surely that is the right thing to do especially if we are Christians.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians 8:21: “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” Good manners is doing what is right, including saying thank you and please, letting someone go ahead of you, returning phone calls promptly, having good eating manners—and a myriad of other things that used to be firmly taught in the home. Maybe that’s where the breakdown begins these days—we aren’t teaching or demonstrating good manners in our homes.

Well, our friend Fran has confronted her son’s lack of manners this week, and hopefully has helped him to see that he needs to be polite at all times. Driving to work this next morning, she is singing along with a praise and worship song on the radio when someone starts blowing his horn behind her. She looks in the rearview mirror and realizes he is right on her bumper. She’s in the left lane going the speed limit, but evidently he thinks she’s driving too slow.

She starts to put on her turn signal to change to the middle lane, but before she can, he pulls out and whips around her, almost running into her. He misses by an inch if that much. Fran’s heart almost stops beating, realizing how close she came to an accident. As he pulls around her, he gives her a very ugly sign and yells something profane at her.

Road rage, she thinks. Good grief, I’m not even safe driving the speed limit in my car anymore. It takes her back to this whole issue of manners, and how our society seems to have lost the civil touch.

“Lord,” she prays, “what can I do to keep from falling into this trap? All around me people are rude and uncaring and impolite, and it can be contagious. Please help me, Father, to maintain the good manners I’ve been taught and to pass them on to my children. Please help me, Father.”

After praying she immediately thinks of some thank you notes that she needs to write. “Good grief,” she says to herself, “I should have written those notes last week. Forgive me for my lack of good manners, Lord. I’ll write them at lunch today, for sure.”

You may not think of good manners as a spiritual issue, but I believe it is because good manners demonstrate a caring attitude and that is very spiritual indeed.