Read 1 Peter 3:8-9
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters, Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. (NLT)
Having good manners and being ‘nice’ can be underrated. We might think it sounds rather insipid. But as our text reminds us, being pleasant and positive towards others is a good thing. Especially nowadays in a climate of much abusive comment and interaction. People tend to fly off the handle at one another and expend much energy on telling all and sundry what they don’t like about others.
Of course we do need to occasionally offer criticism or rebuke. Being pleasant and having good manners is not the same as agreeing with everyone all the time. But it is important to disagree with civility and courtesy. Abusing others not only shows bad manners but lazy reasoning. And such abuse is particularly ugly when it comes from within the Christian community. Religious conflicts can be especially ugly.
Jesus certainly wasn’t insipid. He spoke against hypocrisy and sin. And yet he was regarded as kind towards those who needed help. Kindness and civility makes our small worlds better places to be and serve as a witness to a world where such things are in short supply.