Volume. XXIX, No. 33
Sunday, 15 February 2015

From the Pastors Heart: Manners and Etiquettes -1


This year’s church theme is to build a God honoring family.  When we are thinking about family, the first thought coming into our mind is that its members are related.  There are relationships including husband and wife, parents and children, in-laws, or brothers and sisters.  In a larger scope, we call the believers of Christ as our spiritual family.  It also means that they are related to each other.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word, “relationship” as “the state of being connected or related, association by blood or marriage, or the mutual dealings, connections, of feelings that exist between two parties, countries, or people.”  The relationship is kept, maintained, improved, or ruined by the ways that each member demonstrates his/her/their thoughts, feelings, or attitudes toward other members within the family.  I would say that one of the key components relating and connecting the members of the family to each other is their manners, courtesies, or etiquettes toward each other.  Sometimes we focus on rights and wrongs of words and behaviors in order to build up good relationships in family.  However, we must not stop judging and scolding each other on the basis of rules and principles only.  Affectionate and ideal relationships require more than such things.  We must not forget that we can be mean while saying right words and that we can hurt our loved ones while taking justifiable actions.  An issue we ought to consider is how we say the right words and do justifiable actions.  How would you think that a child points out his parents’ wrongs by shouting and swearing?  How would you think that a wife scolds her husband for his wrongs by shouting with disrespectful words . . .  even before their children?  How would you think that a father-in-law charges against his son-in-law for mistreating his daughter by throwing cups and dishes to him?  How would you consider a child who raises his voices against his parents, bangs his room door, and refuses to respond to their calls?  How would you think of a husband who speaks to his wife with indecent and unkind words and despises her, because she has made mistakes?  If we generalize such problematic demonstrations of individuals’ attitudes toward other people, we may find lots of examples.  Some people speak as if shouting in public places, young people do not consider elderly people when the latter need cares and tenderness from the former, or some people just do not care about other people’s feelings when they speak to them over the telephone calls.  Over the years, I have seen many relationships that have been hurt and ruined because of bad manners and no courtesies.  All relevant parties raised their voices to justify their words and actions based on principles and rules.  They argued that they were not morally wrong.  Such problems do exist in our family relationships.  Though what we do and say is morally justifiable, no-or-bad manners can harm and destroy our relationships.  Thus, having done all righteous things, if we still find that there are problems, it will be helpful to see if we have been courteous and demonstrated good manners and etiquettes to the ones with whom we are struggling at the moment.  I firmly believe that all Christians must be good mannered people and very courteous to others.  We ought to educate our children to be good mannered and courteous to other people.  Good manners and etiquettes can be groomed and nurtured, and they are learnable traits.  Such an understanding makes us liable and accountable for our bad manners and lack of courtesies. 


More than a month ago, I was looking for some teaching materials about manners and etiquettes.  In fact, I was looking for any agency or organization that provides some teaching sessions about manners and etiquettes.  Only agencies I found were modeling agencies, of which I felt were inadequate for my purposes.  Then, I came across a website talking about manners in various relationships and situations.  The website name was Schools of Manners and Common Sense.  I do not think that it is a Christian site, per se.  However, as the website’s name indicates, so it offers quite a wide range of suggestions and advices in relation to our manners.  I emailed the editor with an inquiry if I could receive permission to use the articles, and Brian French kindly gave me his permission to use his articles.  Thus, I would quote from his articles freely.  His web address is http://www.a-to-z-of-manners-and-etiquette.com/.  Read his following words.


“Manners cost us nothing; yet, earn us respect when we use them.  “Manners maketh the man,” is a phrase not used much these days.  The basics of etiquette have been largely forgotten by the younger generation.  The older generation may well remember some of the following: Don’t point – it’s rude; don’t speak with your mouth full –disgustingly, you may spit some of it out!; Don’t shout – keep your voice down; Don’t interrupt – it’s selfish and ill-mannered; Open doors for the elderly and for women; Hold doors open for whoever is following you in (or out) – don’t let it slam in their face; Use please and thank you; Turn away from people, food and the phone when you cough or sneeze; Show respect for those older and wiser than yourself; Without respect and consideration for others, we are nothing but savages.”


Let us consider following statements: “People don’t care how much you know; they don’t care how rich you are.  They just need to know how much you care.  And caring about others is what manners is all about.  Think about that.”  “Manners and Etiquettes are what distinguish us from the apes (and a good many of our fellow human beings too).”  If my children say that they love me, but their manners (attitudes) are unmannered and not courteous toward me, I would be offended.  If I say to my wife that I love her very much, but if I show no consideration (neither good mannered and nor courteous), she will know that I am offering her lip services.  “There are no hard and fast rules or laws on the subject of etiquette.  In a nut shell, having good manners is showing courtesy and consideration for other people at all times in all circumstances, putting yourself in their shoes and thereby not being offensive, rude or disrespectful.”  “Manners have evolved from customs, protocols and conventions.  This process is common to all countries and cultures and has developed over the ages to ensure a harmonious society.  They are even enshrined in the Ten Commandments!”  It is a powerful observation that manners are formed in order to ensure a harmonious society.  It is like an application of the golden rule in the Bible: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).  It is possible that certain customs, manners, and etiquettes are different from country to country and from family to family.  However, two things are common: (1) They are to ensure a peaceful coexistence between people, and (2) they are to ensure mutual respects of the rights of other people.  It means that any family, society, or relationship not showing proper manners and courtesies amongst the members of each unit will enjoy neither harmonious coexistence nor mutual respect.  There will be only chaos, offenses, hurts, accusations, anger, and contentions. 


When we begin to lose our appreciation and respect for our spouses, children, or parents, we take them for granted.  We do not show them proper respect and we talk and behave toward them differently from our normal talks and behaviors toward the people not connected to us in such intimate ways, or even strangers.  We may be courteous toward visitors and strangers, but not toward our close ones such as husbands, wives, children, parents, in-laws, grandparents, and etc.  The believers of Christ must be good mannered and courteous to their loved ones as well as outsiders.  It is no wonder that the Scripture commands them to love their wives, to submit to their husbands, honor their parents, and not to provoke their children.  All of these commands require them to do more than following certain rules.  They must be good mannered and courteous.  I will say some more things about manners and etiquettes next time.




Your Pastor

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Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. Job: Sis Marion Chan

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe (surgery on 17 Feb); Bro Tien Lee’s father (post-surgery in Penang); & Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in China (17 Jan - 17 Feb).

5. Cambodia Missions - Pr Zhang & Ministry; (Sihanoukville); Khmer pastors & their families.

6. IBPFM & PMU: board members & missionaries.

7. New Life BPC (London) - Encouragement for congregation. God’s guidance & provision of a pastor.

8. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

9. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

10. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

14. God’s wisdom & guidance - for our Federal & State political leaders.



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