Espresso Yourself: Part 2 – Rude is the Mood: Transcript & Outline



Rude Is the Mood

Ed Young

March 30, 2003

[Ed comes to stage with a cup of espresso]

I made some espresso here.  It’s the double shot of the real stuff.  Espresso is strong and stout.  It packs a caffeine kick.  When I go out with friends who have never tried espresso, I give them the “espresso warning.”

I say, “What you are getting ready to taste, this stuff right here, is some serious stuff.  I just warn you.  It’s got a real kick and a real punch to it.”



Rude Is the Mood

Ed Young

March 30, 2003

[Ed comes to stage with a cup of espresso]

I made some espresso here.  It’s the double shot of the real stuff.  Espresso is strong and stout.  It packs a caffeine kick.  When I go out with friends who have never tried espresso, I give them the “espresso warning.”

I say, “What you are getting ready to taste, this stuff right here, is some serious stuff.  I just warn you.  It’s got a real kick and a real punch to it.”

Today, as I talk about this subject matter, I’ve got to warn you.  Because this message, this talk, packs a powerful caffeinated punch.  I am going to talk to you about some of the strongest stuff, some of the most bitter stuff that we deal with.

To explain where I am going, let me tell you a story.  My wife was driving in our SUV with our twin daughters, who at the time were 7 years of age.   She was following a truck on this two-lane road, and this truck was pulling a trailer.  The truck just stopped.  The truck driver had no idea that my wife was behind, so Lisa kind of tapped on the horn.  One of my 7-year-old daughters said, “Mom, don’t honk at the guy in the truck!  He might do that finger thing!”  Now, you know what I am talking about.  It’s amazing. She is 7 years of age and, already, she understands that the “mood is rude” in our culture.

Everywhere we look, we see rudeness on the rampage.  This past week I read a two-year study on rudeness.  This study is pretty interesting.  It says that six out of ten Americans believe that rudeness is on the rise.  It also says that 79% of us feel like rudeness is a serious problem.   73% of the people who responded said that we had more respect in the past than we do today.  Isn’t that something?

Today’s talk, though, is much deeper than just forgetting to say, “Thank you, no ma’am, yes ma’am, yes sir, or excuse me.”  It’s deeper that a man pulling the seat out before a lady sits down.  It’s much deeper than that.  The roots of rudeness run deep.

You might say, “Ed, rudeness is just what it is.”

Well, yes, that may be true.   But, it is much deeper than you think it is.  Rudeness runs deep.  It’s profound.  It’s a serious problem.  It’s messing up many people’s lives.  When I say the word “rude,” what comes to mind?  To be rude means to deliberately disrespect yourself, others and God.   It’s a deliberate “dis” of yourself, others and God.  The rationale for rudeness is pretty fascinating.

I did an informal poll, recently.   I talked to people about why rudeness is so prevalent these days.   Here is what they told me.

They said, “Number one, people are rude just because the pace of life.  We hydroplane through life.  Everything is so busy.  We don’t have time to be polite.”

People told me that.  That’s the first reason — the first rationale of rudeness.

The second rationale of rudeness is the parents.  People say it is the parent’s problem.  “They don’t teach manners.  They don’t teach etiquette.  They don’t teach respect so people are rude.”

Some told me, “Ed, rudeness is just entertainment.”   That’s the third rationale for rudeness.  “It’s just art,” they said.

Isn’t it funny how we’ll pay people like Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, or Eminem squillions of dollars … just to be rude?

“Hey, here’s another Emmy.  Here’s another Grammy.  You were rude.   Good job!  You were crude.  What you did and what you said were socially unacceptable.  Great for you!  Here’s some more money, because you are so rude.”

Some say we are rude because we live in a casual culture.  That’s the fourth rationale — everything is casual.  “People are dressing down.  It’s relaxed.  Who makes up manners anyway?  Your manners are your manners, and my manners are mine.  What’s the big deal?”

The fifth rationale for rudeness is success.  People told me, “You’ve got to be rude to be successful.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Let me add one more rationale.  You will not see this one on the side screens.  Let me tell you another reason that a lot of us are rude.  It just feels good, sometimes, doesn’t it?  It just feels good, sometimes.  We don’t want to admit it, but just to go rude on someone makes us feel good.  If they are rude to us, then we are going to be rude right back.

There is something interesting in the air.  There is something out there that causes this rudeness.  At first glance, it doesn’t appear to be what it is.

Over spring break, my family and I found ourselves in an airport, that I will not mention, flying on an airline that I will not mention.  It was about 1:00 AM. I noticed that there was some ticket confusion.  For some reason, Lisa and I were on one flight, and our four kids were on the other.  So, Lisa and I, with our four kids in tow, just walked up and said, “Hey, I think there is some confusion here with our tickets.”  I said it just like that.  In return, I was hit by a rude tidal wave.  Talk about rudeness on the rampage!  These airline employees went off on us.  Lisa, our kids and I were like, “Wow, what’s the problem here?”  I did not go rude.   Even though I wanted to go rude on them, I did not go rude — probably because I was studying for this talk while I was in the airport.  It was so bad: the airline employees were even dropping the “f-bomb.” It was out of control.  Finally, some other airline employees walked up to our family and said, “You know what?  We are rooting for you guys.”  I thought, “Wow, is this wheels off, or what?”

Looking back on that situation, let me tell you what I was dealing with.  Yes, I was dealing with rude people.  But, I want to talk about the “why.”  Why were these people so rude?  Do you know why they were rude?  It’s because they were ignorant.   I don’t say that in a mean way.  I don’t say it in a rude way.  They were ignorant.  Ignorance is a major cause of rudeness.  These people were ignorant of the fact that they are loved by God.  They were ignorant of the fact that they are forgiven and cleansed by God.  They were ignorant of the Gospel and ignorant of the fact that God sent Christ to pay the price on the cross for their sins. Because they had no self-respect, they dissed us.  They showed no respect, whatsoever, to us.

Ignorance is a major cause of rudeness.  Whenever you see someone being rude, just remember that they don’t realize how much they are loved.  Because, if they did, they wouldn’t treat you, or others, the way they do.

They were ignorant but they were also arrogant.  Ignorance leads to arrogance.  They were arrogant.  Ignorance + arrogance = rudeness.    Basically, they were shaking their little, puny fists in the face of God.  They were saying by their attitudes and actions that we didn’t matter.  Because we didn’t matter to them, ultimately God didn’t matter to them.  When you are arrogant, it’s an indictment upon humanity and, ultimately, Christianity.  When you are arrogant, you have a warped view of God, you have a warped view of man, and you have a warped view of yourself.

Ignorance + arrogance = rudeness.  Rudeness is deliberately dissing yourself, others and God.

It’s time that we throw out that formula and put in a new formula.  Instead of “ignorance + arrogance = rudeness,” we need to put in a new formula.  Here it is.  This is the new math.  Knowledge + humility = respect.  That’s what we need.  Knowledge + humility = respect.  Instead of ignorance, we need knowledge.  We need to know that we are loved by God.  We need to know that we matter to God.  We need to know that God, through Christ, did the work on the cross to secure our salvation.

Once we have that knowledge, once we are dialed into that, what happens?  We are hammered by humility.  We realize that Christ humbled himself.  He voluntarily gave his life for our sins.  He treated us more importantly than himself. So, we, instead of being arrogant, me-istic and self-centered, we humble ourselves before Christ.   Because of that, we, in turn, humble ourselves before others, and we treat others more importantly than we treat ourselves.  So, we have this formula that’s formulating and moving in our lives by the grace and the mercy of God.  We have this knowledge.  Then we are hammered by humility and, from humility, we have respect.  We respect God.  We respect ourselves and we respect others.  Respect is worship.  Worship is not something we do just within the confines of Fellowship.  Worship is not something we do just during our First Wednesday celebration that we will have in a couple of days.  Yes, that is worship.  Worship, though, should infiltrate everything we say, do, feel and touch.  It’s about respect.  When I respect the grace and the mercies of God, when I realize I don’t get what I deserve, then I cut people major slack.  I show them love.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love is not rude.”  In the Phillips translation, it says that love has good manners.  Don’t you like that?  Love is not rude.  What does the word “rude” mean?  The root of rude means “inappropriate.”  It is something that is shapeless.  It’s an attitude that’s out of shape.  Whenever I am rude to you and whenever you are rude to me, we are disfiguring the image of God.  Rudeness decaffeinates love.  Jesus has shown us love at every turn.  Yet, we have been rude to him.  We have deliberately dissed him.  We have sinned before him.  What did Jesus do with our rudeness?  Was he rude right back to us?  No.  We deserve it, but he wasn’t.  He was loving to us.

I will develop that more in a little while.  Right now, let’s change gears for a second.  Let’s talk about some practical matters.  How do we do a “rude reversal?”  That’s the issue that is hanging in the balance.  I think it’s time that we wake up and smell the espresso, don’t you?  I think it’s time that we have this java jolt and get caffeinated by the power of God.

I’m going to talk to you about the rugged plains of reality, as far as the rude reversal.  Here is how we morph rudeness into respect.  When you speak to people, make sure you speak with honesty, and not a bunch of hostility.  After all, life is communication.

People tell me, “Well, Ed, I’m just a straight shooter, man.  I just tell it like it is.  I let the chips fall where they may.  That’s my deal.  Do you want to hear the truth?  If you don’t, stay away from me.”  That is dumb.  It’s like my friend, Rick Warren, said, years ago. “If you are right and you are rude, then you are wrong.”

As I studied this passage I thought, “Man, how many times in my life have I been right, but I have been rude?”  At those times, I have been wrong.  We can all say that — in a marital situation, in a corporate situation, in an educational situation, or in a team situation.

The Bible says, in Ephesians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.”

Proverbs 15:23 says, “What a joy it is to find just the right word.”  Does it stop there?  No.  It continues, “For the right occasion.”  We have got to pick the right word for the right occasion.  We have got to speak the truth in love.  We don’t go soft.  We speak up.  Yet, we clothe it in love.  We are locking eyes with people who matter to God.  You’ve never met a person that Christ did not die for.  Never.  Don’t treat them like junk.  Treat them like a gift from Jesus, because that is what they are.  So, when you speak, speak with honesty and not hostility.

When you are served by the Sonic girl, by the waiter, or by the man or woman who picks up your trash, be courteous, and not condescending.

“Well, Ed, he’s just a…she’s just a…”

Just a?  Just a?  God didn’t make any junk.  We have an opportunity to give people the figure of the cross.  We either give them the figure of the cross or we disfigure it.  We either give them part of the cross or give them the whole cross, don’t we?  That’s the opportunity.  That’s what is hanging in the balance for your life and mine — the whole cross.

Let’s continue. 1 Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone.”  Who does that include?  It includes everyone — every single person.  I like the word “respect.”  Do you know what respect means?  It means showing love in the little things.  Respect condenses love to espresso type acts.   It compresses love into little acts.  That’s true respect.

Let me talk about marriage for a second — just a quick sidebar.  I know about this, because I am a husband.  Husbands, sometimes we get love wrong.  We get respect wrong.  We get the honor thing wrong.  We think, “Okay, every now and then I’ll just buy my wife these big audacious gifts.  ‘Here, Honey, is this expensive gold ring with rubies and diamonds.  Yes, I have been rude to you for the last eight months but here you go.  Wear it.  It’s going to be beautiful.  You won’t believe what your friends will say about the ring.’  That will make up for all the rudeness in my life.  Or, ‘Here are two round-trip tickets for you and me to Fiji.  This big audacious gift will make up for everything.’”

If you can do that, husbands, great!  Buy the big ring or tickets to Fiji for your spouse.  That’s cool.  Hopefully, you will fly on an airline that is polite.  But, that’s not living, respecting and loving on the rugged plains of reality.  Talk to women.  It’s those little things that matter.  Talk to your wife.  It’s those little things that matter.  It’s putting her on a pedestal.  It’s affirming her privately and publicly.  It’s opening car doors. It’s standing when she walks into a room or up to your table.

Lisa and I, a while back, went out with some good friends of ours and another couple that we didn’t know very well.  It was just fascinating to watch how mannerly and how much this other husband honored his wife.  So, if you gave your wife an option, husbands, whether to give her two big, audacious gifts a year, or to show espresso-type love 24/7, I can tell you what she is going to say.  She’ll say, “Give me the espresso love, 24/7.”  It’s those little acts — those little things.  The marital graves are dug by little digs — one shovel full at a time.  Each shovel full doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time.  It’s a little bit of rudeness, until, one day, you are in a grave.  So, be courteous and not condescending.

The Bible says that we have entertained angels without knowing it.  God will put someone in your path or my path that can’t do a thing for us.  He wants to see if we are going to be rude to them or give them respect.  I want to ask you a question.  How do you treat people who can’t do a thing for you?  That’s a true test of character.  How do you respect people who can’t make any money for you or who cannot advance your career?  How do you treat people?  I know how you treat people who can do things for you.   You treat them well.  But, I mean how do you treat the people who can’t do anything for you?

When you speak, speak with honesty and not hostility.  When you are served, be courteous and not condescending.  When you disagree, and we will disagree, make sure you are relational and not ruthless.  We are going to disagree.  We will have disagreements in relationships — in our marital relationship, our friendships and our business relationships.  We have got to be relational and not ruthless.  Why?  Because our relational integrity is all about respect.  It’s all about respect and not rudeness.  I’ve got to realize something.  Number one — I am going to give an account of my life before God.  He is going to go through the Rolodex of my relationships and ask, “Okay, Ed, did you show respect or rudeness? Did you share my love with others by the way you acted, by the way you talked to them, and by the way you treated them as they served you?  Or, did you go off on them and throw around words and attitudes in a careless fashion?

Number two — I have to remember that I am not God.  God is on the throne of my life.  The moment I ask Christ to come into my life, he sits on the throne.  He is in the driver’s seat.  But I have the ability, and so do you, to usurp God and say, “God, let me take over this relationship.  Let me tell this person off.  Let me be the judge.  Let me criticize them and let me go rude on them.  I will do this because it feels so good.  I know the best thing to say.  I can really jam them.  I can really put it back in their face.”

Galatians 6:7 is the reciprocal law of love.  Basically, it says that a man reaps what he sows.  So, if you want respect, then give respect.  If you want love, then give love.  If you want to be treated rudely, then just be rude to others.  Remember last weekend, when I took the yo-yo out and I said when we pop it down, it’s going to come back up?  When we rock the baby, it’s going to come back up.  When we go around the world, it’s going to come back up.  When you throw criticism out, it will come back.  When you go rude on people, it will come back.  That’s the reciprocal law of love.  We must be relational.  Speak the truth in love and not ruthlessness.

Let me give you another quick java jolt.  Did you know it’s possible, and I’m talking to Christians now, to forfeit your rewards in heaven?  You become a Christian by the grace of God, by the mercies of God.  You ask Jesus to come into your life.  Jesus, though, wants to work out what He, by his mercy, has worked in.  We have accrued all this stuff and Jesus wants to reward us.  In fact, let me let Christ say it.

In Revelation 22, Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

2 John 1:8 says, “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”

If I am rude to my parents, if I am rude to my employees, if I am rude to my friends, if I am rude to my boss, or if I am just rude, rude, rude, then I can forfeit the awesome rewards that God has given to me.  I am not talking about losing your salvation.  I’m talking about missing the bountiful blessings that God wants to give us in eternity.  So, when you speak, speak with honesty and not hostility.  When you are served, be courteous and not condescending.  When you disagree, be relational and not ruthless.

Here’s one more.  When you enter different environments, make sure you are compliant and not defiant.  You need to be compliant and not defiant.

Philippians 2 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Christ voluntarily gave up his heavenly prerogatives and a lot of his powers as he took on human form, as he entered our environment.  He complied with his surroundings — our environment.  He lived a sinless life.  God has placed different environments, different chains of command, different structures and different strata around us.  We must discover where we fit into the different structures and strata.  We have governments.  We should discover where we fit into the scheme.  We have homes.   We should discover where we fit into the leadership scheme.  We have churches.  We have schools.   We have businesses.  We have to find out where we fit into the leadership scheme.  Are we going to be respectful or rude?  That’s why we need to understand the rules, the guidelines, the guardrails, the manners, and the etiquette of everything — because everything we do is an image of God.  We are either giving a warped view of God, a weird cross, or we are giving the total package by the way we behave.  So, at every interchange, every exchange, every social structure and system, we have the opportunity to either preach the message of Jesus with our lives, or to give people a whacked out view that message.

Last weekend, we talked about criticism.  We talked about what Jesus said in Matthew.  Jesus said, “Why do you, who has a crossbeam in your eye, criticize people who have a speck of sawdust in their contact lens?  Why do you do that?  What’s up with that?”

“First of all, worry about the plank in your own eye before you begin to talk about someone’s speck in their contact lens.”  That’s my paraphrase.  We said, last weekend, that we have got to yank the plank.  If you missed it, pick up a CD.  Some of us yank the plank, but then we don’t drop the plank. Do you know what we do?

We pick the plank up and start swinging it.  We say, “No, I won’t criticize you, but I am going to go rude on you, baby!  I don’t like the way you look.”  Bam!  [Ed swings the plank to demonstrate what we do verbally.] “You put my wife and I on one plane and my kids on another.”  Bam!  “You cut me off in driving.”  Bam!  “You didn’t give me that bonus.”  Bam!

We carry around the big stick, don’t we — this big old rude bat?  Sometimes we use the truth in a mean, negative and biting way. It shouldn’t be so.  We have got to take this rudeness and nail it to the cross.  We have got to confess it, come clean with it and realize that Jesus died for it.  We have got to understand that we can be connected vertically to the living Lord.  We have got to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God.  We have got to have the knowledge that the Gospel is good news and that God sent Jesus to pay the price on the cross for my rudeness.  We have got to realize that we have been rude to God.  God didn’t return rudeness with rudeness.  He returned rudeness with love.  That’s what we should do.  But, we can’t do that unless we accept the love of God.  Once we are right with God vertically, then we will show respect for others horizontally.  We will have respect for God and respect for ourselves and do you know what?  That will truly caffeinate our Christianity.