the weblog of Alan Knox

Why are Christians generally inconsiderate of others?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2009 in blog links, love | 15 comments

David Nelson, Academic Dean of Southeastern Seminary, has written an important post called “Neighbor Love and the Considerate Traveler.” In this post, he exhorts Christians to exhibit love and consideration towards others while traveling with the following:

  • Watch the volume of your voice.
  • Be aware of the nature of your laughter.
  • Beware of slamming hotel doors.
  • Be careful about late night (and early morning) noise.
  • Be charitable about your place in line.
  • Don’t be obnoxious about seat backs on planes.
  • Don’t be a jerk to airline or hotel employees (or anyone else).

These exhortations seem obvious. In fact, these are the elementary ways that a Christians is supposed to demonstrate love. He didn’t even mention opening your home to strangers (hospitality) or giving of your own resources to someone who is in need. But, it is also obvious that Americans (including Christian Americans) are known around the world for being obnoxious and inconsiderate – unloving.

Is this true? Are Christians generally inconsiderate of others? How is this possible if the primary characteristc of all Christians is supposed to be love? If we need to be exhorted to patient while standing in line, is there hope for Christians to truly show sacrificial love?


15 Comments

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  1. 7-22-2009

    How about not thinking others culture or way of doing things are dumb or inferior. Not to mention, I am often repenting and challenging my wife not to be so easily frustrated with cashiers and food services individuals. They have to deal with rude obnoxious people everyday all day, they should exprience the grace and peace of God when we come through! Not to mention tipping!

  2. 7-22-2009

    You know… the bar has really dropped when these things have to be spelled out to adults! My parents expected better of me when I was in elementary school. :)

  3. 7-22-2009

    Alan,

    My wife and I watched an American programme on TV in which around 80% of the audience admitted to being rude to others (with appropriate excuses), yet expected no rudeness towards them. Australians are at least equally so.

    Of course rude, ill-mannered, self-centred, abrasive Christians wouldn’t be amongst them! Would they? :(

  4. 7-22-2009

    Thanks for the comments. It was surprising to me that this type of post was needed to address those who supposedly demonstrate that they are Jesus’ disciples by their love. Obviously, we all fail at love. But, I think its strange that Christians are consistently considered rude and inconsiderate.

    -Alan

  5. 7-22-2009

    Alan,

    I just don’t think Christians, as a collective whole, can be easily distinguished from the rest of the population.

    When was the last time you heard something like “That person was so nice… They must be a Christian!”?

    -jeff

  6. 7-23-2009

    Honestly,

    I think that the post made was more than relevant—because from what I’ve seen often in differing parts of the Body, it’s always amazing how much we’re quick to dive into theological issues/debates on a myriad of issues (i.e. ecclesiology, eschatology, etc) and be very versed in them while claiming that the Body NEEDS to be aware of what’s proper in those areas……and yet, when it comes to basic manners and respect toward others, we’re the main ones often unable to show it.

    I cannot tell you how often it has been the case that “Christians” were annoying toward those working in resturants due to how they’d often have much to say concerning theology/witnessing….and yet, in place of tipping those who worked hard, they left a “Gospel Tract” …or got angry with the cashier who may’ve been struggling that day with others being obnoxious since he wasn’t giving them their food “quick enough”.

    But if one really wishes to see how others consider Christians, perhaps the saddest testament is how we treat one another—-from “Heresy Hunting”/”Discernment” sites where entire segments of the Body of Christ are deemed as “apostate/false gospels” on things that’re often semantical disagreements……to the way we treat those who’re not saved, such as Christians having issue with believers having “homosexual” friends alongside unsaved people as others they may hang with since Christians are only to be with “Christians”. It’s the reason why the world often does not care for what we have to say—as what we say is in no way relevant to what’s going on

  7. 12-15-2009

    It’s sad when a so called adult christian has to be taught basic manners.

    That’s like me reminding my 30 year old son to remember to count his change when he goes to the store. ???

    I should have taught him that when he was 5 years old.

    A real Christian not only will have good manners, but he will also be humble, giving, dependable , trust worthy, honest , considerate, respectful and the whole sleuth of upright behavior.

    A real Christian should use Jesus as their example rather than fellow christians who many are just in need of Christ’s forgiveness as the rest of the world.

  8. 12-15-2009

    Primordial Thought Matrix,

    Thanks for the comments. Jesus is certainly our prime example. According to Scripture, we should also be examples for one another – our leaders especially should be examples.

    -Alan

  9. 1-4-2011

    I have thought about this a lot. I work in retail. It also varies depending on what type of christain you are thinking about. For intance, when I lived in the Biloxi, New Orleans area, it was most catholic. They were very considerate with not making a mess. I moved up further north in the bible belt, where most are baptist. They make a horrible mess with the clothes. The worst day is Sunday, right when they get out of church. Very inconsiderate.

  10. 1-4-2011

    Oh forgot the point. I have to come to the conclusion that it has to do with the fact that they are taught that they are saved just because they believe. It doesn’t matter how they act, because as long as they believe, they are forgiven. Its like a corruptable influence.

    catholics are taught by guilt, so they may have a tinge of guilt around their actions where they believe their actions can cause them to dwell in purgatory, therefore they are less likely to do such things.

  11. 1-5-2011

    Darryl,

    So, what do you think about that? Which one is the right way? 1) You are saved so it doesn’t matter how you act, or 2) Do right because your actions can cause you to dwell in purgatory?

    -Alan

  12. 3-18-2012

    I am currently living in a very “Christian” town. Of all the towns I have lived in this is the most inconsiderate. I work in retail. People leave there clothes inside out on the floor in the dressing rooms. Pick up clothes from the rack and don’t put them back where they got them. Drop clothes on the floor and leave them. Try things on at the rack and just throw the clothes over the rack.

    It is the worst on Sunday’s after church. If they can’t even fulfill and have sympathy in even these most basic situations, What does that say about the salvation of their soul.

  13. 3-19-2012

    Day,

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many similar stories.

    -Alan

  14. 6-6-2013

    Because we’ve have been taught that non-believers are immoral, unspiritual, and out to get us. There can be no sense of shared humanity or common interest with the world because we are paranoid.

    The conservative belief that “there is no such thing as society” makes people anti-social in everyday life.

    We are taught that we are better than non-believers, despite a complete lack of evidence, and that’s what makes us clueless about our flaws.

    Apparently, the only way to be kind to others is to tell them what to believe.

  15. 6-9-2013

    Skinner,

    Unfortunately, I think you’re right.

    -Alan