What do you gain by being uncivil? How do you benefit by thinking more of yourself and less of others? Why must your needs and desires supersede anyone else’s needs and desires? Incivility, a lack of humility, and a sense of superiority are at the root of our nation’s divisiveness. It is time that we foster goodness for the sake of the common good. It’s time that we begin acting more Christ-like and love our neighbor.
Picture yourself standing in line waiting to check out at a department store. In front of you is a woman berating the sales clerk because she can’t use more than one coupon. What are you thinking? Are you saying to yourself, “You go girl! Give it to that clerk!” Or, might you be thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not that clerk!” How is being uncivil making the woman look good? Certainly, she is not virtuous, as she lacks civility. When someone makes such outbursts, they do not foster goodness for the sake of the common good. Such actions demonstrate that the woman is only looking out for herself. She wants the clerk to disregard store policy for her benefit. She thinks that her needs and desires are more important than anyone else’s needs and desires.
We need to start thinking and acting differently if we are going to foster goodness for the sake of the common good. Let’s replay the same scenario, with a twist, where now we see virtuous actions for the sake of the common good.
When the sales clerk informs the woman that she can only use one coupon per purchase, the woman asks, “Is there any way that I can apply both coupons, if I were to break up the purchases?” The sales clerk responds, “Given the amount you are purchasing, only one coupon would be applicable. Your total purchase amount is not large enough to use both coupons, even when splitting up the purchases.” The woman calmly responds, “Well, it never hurts to ask. Please apply the coupon that gives me the best option.”
With the second scenario, we see the woman acting civilly, respecting store policies, and not placing her needs and desires ahead of others. The woman fosters goodness for the sake of the common good. She elicits the virtues of courtesy and respect, and shows a sense of humility.
If more people would act civilly, show respect, and treat others as they would want to be treated, then we just might look, and act, like one nation, under God, once again.
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