We live in a society that encourages selfishness

Published 2:13 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham


Dear Rev. Graham: It is disturbing to observe so many people today lacking common courtesy. There seems to be a spirit of depression; frowns instead of smiles, and a general unhappiness in people’s countenance. Is there an explanation? – P.C.

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Dear P.C.: Although many social customs differ from one culture to another, the Bible makes it clear that such things as courtesy and thoughtfulness should be part of our lives, no matter where we live. It is perhaps best summed up in the words of Jesus (which have come to be called the Golden Rule): “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12, NIV).

Notice that this is a positive command; that is, we are not simply to refrain from doing evil to others, but we are to go out of our way to do what is good. Courtesy and kindness are part of this.

Why does courtesy seem to be declining in our society? One reason is that we have lost sight of the Bible’s teachings about how we should live and act toward others. We also live in a society which has encouraged selfishness – the “me first” attitude – and that destroys common courtesy and kindness. Many people strive to achieve success in order to be happy, only to find that once they get there they are shallow and empty. This emptiness has gripped much of our world.

But the real problem is a spiritual problem. When people leave God out of their lives, there is a bareness that is hard to fill. Self-indulgent goals are often driven by self-centered motives. It can happen to people without them even realizing it. When God is at the center of our thoughts, our perspective changes. Those who have actually experienced daily fellowship with Christ know that it surpasses all worldly activities.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)