WWJD: Be a joy, not a jerk

Love is not rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable. 1 Corinthians 13:5, NLT

This post is a two-fer because these two principles work hand in hand. Words and the actions that come with them have power. In fact, Scripture discusses the power of words in many places. One such place is in James 3:8, when the tongue is described as “restless, evil and full of deadly poison” (NLT).

The tongue is deadly when words that are rude, mean, and filled with irritation shoot off of it like nothing. Using intentional hurtful actions driven by anger or hurt to make a point, won’t ensure a relationship will grow and flourish.

These kinds of words and actions can be hurtful. These kinds of words and actions are damaging. These words leave scars. These words and actions are deadly to relationships.

We have all been rude. Displayed bad manners, forgotten to speak to someone, cut someone off in traffic, interrupted someone, or said something hurtful unintentionally. I am not talking about bad manners.

I am talking about intentional hurt because we are irritated, or hurt ourselves. Provoking anger because we are angry. Retaliating because we are in our feelings, so we do something that will trigger a deep wound in another person. Ouch, you got me. Well, ha! I got you. now. Take that! A rude remark here. A silly response there. You lose your cool. You lack total self-control, come up out of your holy character, and before you know it, you have done things, and said things that have cut too deep to ever take back.

This is not an expression of love. Not at all.

According to the Kendrick brothers in The Love Dare, “When under pressure, love doesn’t turn sour. If you are walking under the influence of love, you will be a joy, not a jerk.”

Even when you are hurting, you can still be a joy to the person you love, and the ole brothers give three ways to honor our loved ones without being rude and irritable.

The first of these is putting into practice the Golden Rule. You know the one: “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31, NLT). Would you want to be called crazy? Would you want to be dismissed when you had a concern? Ignored? Yelled at? Treated like a nuisance? Ridiculed? Criticized? Would you want someone to rage at you when you made a mistake, or use your weaknesses against you? Or would you want someone to treat you with compassion, listen when you had a concern with reassurance and patience, and accept your faults with grace?

The second, is thinking of how we treat others-like strangers. Think about it. Do we treat the UPS man, the grocer, the person we pass on the street, or our co-worker better than the people in our home? Or the person we profess to love? Do we offer them smiles, and the best of us, and then give those we cherish our leftovers, grunts, moans, or nothing at all? Let’s ensure we treat the people that mean the most to us with the utmost respect and honor.

Last, are you doing something you were asked not to do? Are you responding in a way you were previously asked not to, or doing something you know will trigger a negative response because you are upset? If a request has been made of you, or you know something bothers someone, just don’t do it. Doing otherwise is the opposite of a loving response. It’s actually pretty rude and nasty.

Want to be a joy, and not a jerk?

I think this pretty much sums it up. It is one of the greatest commandments provided by Jesus: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39, NLT

So, if you are waving “hello” to your neighbor, all smiles and joy…well, save a little for the ones closest to you as well. To the “neighbors” you spend time with behind closed doors. Those you interact with when you think no one else may be watching. Or listening. Give them all your joy, happiness, kind words, and loving responses, and a little less of your sarcastic quips, hurtful words, dismissive tones, and critical remarks.

Love is not rude. Love is not irritable. Love simply has no room to be a jerk.

Love is a joy.

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