I recently heard a news story about the perceived rudeness among the public and especially from those who once were concerned about providing customer service. The news story shared some examples, cited the COVID lock down as the probable reason, and said the solution to this problem is for all of us to just keep to ourselves.
While I agree with the premise of the story and do feel like rudeness has replaced our once pursuit of customer service, I am not as quick to agree with their probable reason or solution. Yes, I think the lock downs may have contributed to a citizenry who seems to have loss touch with civil interpersonal communication etiquette. Yes, I think refraining from interaction with others will decrease the chance of rude interactions, but it will also decrease the chance of beneficial interaction.
When I heard this news story about an increase in public rudeness, my mind immediately recalled 2 Timothy 3:1-4 which states, “in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (NIV).
So, in answer to the question in the title of this post, Yes I do think rudeness is a sign of our times. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4, Paul specifically mentions “People will be lovers of themselves …abusive …without love …brutal” as characteristics of people in these last days. It means that people in these times don’t care about anybody but themselves. The rudeness among the public is increasing.
Jesus said that what is inside a person always comes out of the person. In Mark 7:21-22 He said, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (NIV). Rudeness on the outside is the result of rudeness on the inside of a person who is a lover of themselves rather than a lover of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
On a positive note, as the general rudeness of our society becomes more prevalent, the Christian character will shine brighter. The love of God in our Christian hearts will be more pronounced in a world where everyone is rude, angry, and upset with everyone. While evil people combat evil people, your Christian light will give a witness that the Spirit of God can use to turn a lost person to the Savior.
It may not be easy to deal with rude people and it may be tempting to push back with your own rude comeback, but allow the Lord to use you in those circumstances. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).
We really ought to have a sense of pity on people who are rude to others because we know that hurt people hurt people. We ought to take these experiences as a call to pray that the Spirit of God be allowed in to bring cleansing, forgiveness, and healing to that rude person.
While we’re at it, we ought to pray that the fruit of the Spirit of God be evident in these circumstances, offering the rude person an alternative diet of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).