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Family Faith:

Common courtesy is a way of Christ

May 17, 2008|By KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN

Each week when it is time to compose my column, I find myself in prayer about what to write. Sometimes I feel a clear direction from God, other times it is something I have read in the Bible. Still other factors include events that have happened during the week that have caused me to reflect on God, life or human nature. The latter has inspired me to write about courtesy this week.

Common courtesy may seem like an odd topic for a faith and family column. But if we think about it, it is a fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Ephesians 5:22-23, Holy Bible, New International Version). It is not mentioned implicitly in this list, but its values are.

Our parents hopefully taught us courtesy toward others. And I believe many parents train their children up with this value as well. But there are times when we run into situations where we may be struck with how rude someone treated us.

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I had three incidents happen in one day this past week that left me with the feeling that I was being treated in an inconsiderate manner — and they were all in public settings. Now I am a pretty easygoing person who embraces and loves to learn from all ethnicities, socioeconomic classes and personalities. It is my ability to appreciate all forms of human life that has given me a heart for ministry and psychotherapy.

I truly enjoy people and value their diversity. And since I work with such a varied population, I am often treated in different manners. I realize people are different, have their own hurts and even suffer personally, within their relationships, and perhaps with mental illness in some cases (which I deal with extensively).

My situations were as follows. I was exercising at a local gym. I went to a certain machine to lift weights, and after two repetitions in my first set, a woman came over and literally stood over me about four inches away.

I was very uncomfortable with how close she was standing but finished my set calmly. I then began with my second set. Now the sign directly in front of us told us to allow members to finish their sets. After my first 12 repetitions, this woman asked me if I could rest and she could finish her last set. I kindly told her this was my last set as well, and then she could have the machine. She was clearly annoyed.

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