The case against politeness

When I say something, my goal should be to communicate. I should try to understand how my message will be received by the person I’m communicating with. The fact that they may not understand it should affect how I communicate my message. The fact that they do not receive it might affect how I communicate my message. But the fact that they may not like it should not affect my message itself.

If I’m urging someone to escape from a burning building, I won’t stop telling them just because they’d rather stay in bed, or because they think I’m joking, or because they think I just want to cause them trouble or embarrassment. I must keep changing the way I express my urgent message until they understand what they need to do. But I must not stop until they do, even if it seems rude. Because it’s life-saving.

Whenever God sends his word to put our selfish nature to death, it seems impolite. It seems rude. It makes us uncomfortable. But not because it’s not true. But because it is true. Not because we don’t understand it. But because we do understand it. Not because his word isn’t effective. But because it is effective. Death is never polite, but resurrection follows it.

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