Did I really have to be told that love is not rude? Of course, it isn't rude!
Then, why am I rude sometimes?
I am standing near one of the gate agent's stations waiting to board my flight in Atlanta a couple of months ago. A customer is wearing out the agent. He is asking why he can't board the plane since his flight was canceled. The agent explains that the plane already has all of the seats sold. However, the customer can put his name on the standby list and see if he can board. The customer had not looked at the display which listed the standby customers. There were already forty-three standby passengers in front of him. The customer calmed down and had his name placed on that list.
I thought, "I don't see a whole lot of love floating around here."
The customer was rude to the agent. The agent had nothing to do with whether or not this customer could get on the plane. He just took the next person in line. He just followed procedures. Nothing more. Nothing less.
However, the agent was also rude the customer. He should have told him about snowballs in hell and his chances of getting on that plane by being placed on the standby list. There is little wonder that people seem to be so angry. When will people stop being rude to each other?
Being rude is easy. It is taking advantage of someone whom you believe cannot overcome your rudeness. It is an effort to devalue them. It is not caring about their needs or feelings. It is stepping on their backs while hoping to look like you have just made yourself taller.
The same day as the earlier story of Atlanta, I also flew out of Memphis. (In fact, I flew out of most of the airports in America that day!) My plane was already so late that I knew I would miss my flight out of Atlanta. The gate agent explained to the customer in front of me that it was going to be a long day because the computers the flight controllers used was down in Atlanta. She asked the customer to be patient.
I approached the agent and said, "I know your job is going to be very hard today and I would like to thank you for your honesty with that customer. Honesty isn't always popular but you have the courage to tell the truth." I then gave her my ticket and explained I would miss that flight out of Atlanta and wondered if she could do anything.
She took my ticket and said, "I already know that this flight is going to be canceled. I'll tell you what I'll do. I go ahead and confirm you on the next flight after that one out of Atlanta."
And that's the reason I wasn't in the line of forty-four people trying to fly standby out of Atlanta.
I know it doesn't always work but showing concern rather than rudeness often encourages others to be concerned too.
Love isn't rude. It shows concern for others.
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.