Civility, Manners, and Compassion

What has happened to civility, manners, and compassion? Ephesians 4:32 states ‘to be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other just as in Christ Lord forgave you”. Has this gone out the window? We now have to deal with a decline in civility and have replaced it with hostility, gun violence and fear. Have we become so desensitized because of social media and politics? What has happened to fellowship and friendship that used to bind us together? The loneliness and isolation caused by Covid of course, holds some responsibility.

When I grew up in the 60’s, I remember if someone opened or jumped into the wrong car, the driver would chuckle, and the stranger would apologize and be so embarrassed. Or if you went to the wrong address, the owner would say, “the address you need is down the road and turn right. The house will be on your left”. Or if you drove down the wrong country road the owner would probably ask if you are lost and give you directions with a sendoff to be careful. And in my case, my neighbor who had five boys, the worst thing I heard my mother say would be, “I don’t know why those boys don’t move their basketball court to our yard so it would spare them the energy of having to jump over our fence to retrieve their ball each time”.

When I was growing up my “violent” television shows consisted of The Mod Squad, The Avengers, Mission Impossible, just to name a few. These are no comparison to the violent shows of today. I’m sure this adds to the social decline we experience. How about the destruction of community and church. I remember the days when the church women would plan dances, hold events throughout the year for the community and the men, would go deer hunting together. Come Sunday, everyone attended church and in their Sunday best. It seems that a lot of this has been replaced with hatred, anxiety, anger, bigotry, defiance, depression and drugs. Back in the day, no one would have thought of punching flight attendants because of a crying baby or any other reason.

I do yearn for a kinder, gentler nation that we once experienced. I would give up a lack of modern conveniences if that’s all it took to reclaim that era. Unfortunately, there’s no going back.

I want to be able to live in a multi-cultural community that embraces different traditions and lifestyles. I don’t want to be paranoid that if a person stops in front of my house on their walk that they’re scouting so they can burglarize it rather than admiring and seeing God’s face in my pretty flowers. Or a stressed mother fearing that I’ll do something to her child if I ask if I can help soothe her crying baby. I don’t want to live in a world of hate crimes, fear, and repulsiveness. I have got to keep my faith and hope for a better future.

I pray each day that God keeps me compassionate, charitable and a good citizen surrounded by respectable people. We all make mistakes and errors in judgement. We need to own those mistakes and ask God for forgiveness for our sins and to keep us safe from all types of evil.

To quote Marcus Aurelius, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts when you rise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…..”