11-2009: Etiquette 101

“His question caused a firestorm of caustic remarks from Obama detractors.”

Etiquette 101

by Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti, CQ Editor

On October 15, 2009, 9-year-old Terrence Scott asked President Obama, “I have to say, why people hate you and, and why, they supposed to love you and—God is love [sic].”

His question caused a firestorm of caustic remarks from Obama detractors. Yet no where could I find in any blogs or articles any discussion regarding the nature of God’s love, which in a sense proves young Terrence’s point.

So what exactly is the nature of God’s love? To find out, let’s take a look at two sets of Bible verses:

  1. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17, NKJV).
  2. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4–8, NIV).

Since Christ died so “that the world through Him might be saved,” we can conclude from the first set of verses that He died to save people we might consider to be despicable. Since that is so, how then should we treat those people and people in general? We find the answer to that question in the second set of verses, which describes love not so much as an emotion, but as a series of actions or behaviors. Ellen G. White wrote that the “most valuable treatise on etiquette ever penned is the precious instruction given by the Saviour, with the utterance of the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul—words that should be ineffaceably written in the memory of every human being, young or old.”1 These words are the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, which she then goes on to quote.

Have you ever sung the chorus to the hymn, “ ‘Tis Love That Makes Us Happy”? Part of it goes like this: “God is love; / we’re His little children. / God is love; / we would be like Him.”2

Are we like Him? If Terrence Scott and other inquiring minds were to observe you, would they see godly love in action? Next month, in CQ Synapse, we’ll take a look at how we can develop the love Jesus would have us display as His children.
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1. Education, p. 242.
2. The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, #579.