by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
Remind them ... to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone (Titus 3:1–2, NRSV).
One cannot overemphasize the need for Christlike behavior on the part of those who bear the name of our Lord. If our faith is not evident in our works, our salvation is in jeopardy, and the cause of Christ suffers defeat.
The apostle is now speaking of our behavior in society. He says we should be gentle and peaceable in our approach toward everyone. And we should react to everyone, regardless of their behavior, by showing courtesy, or "true humility." Just as the gospel is for everyone, so God's command is universal: Show kindness to all people.
Our response to unkindness, harshness, even persecution, is perfect courtesy and true humility. Our reaction is not dictated by the behavior of others but by the example of Jesus. If we respond to rudeness with rudeness, we are victims of evil. If we react to rudeness with courtesy and humility, we are followers of Christ.
Let's not fool ourselves. If we act unkindly to our neighbors, disobey the government, or quarrel with fellow Christians, we don't have a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version