“Things are different than they used to be,” Uncle Jon told his sister. “They just have to get used to it.” Uncle Jon had gotten used to various changes in his Mennonite church life. As a young man, he got used to the idea of discarding the plain suit in favor of a lapel suit. (When Jon appeared ready for church in his new suit one Sunday morning, his father chuckled at the boldness of his son; his mother cried.) Jon enjoyed courting a young woman who also followed worldly fads, then got used to a wife who cut her hair and later discarded her covering.
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1Pe 3:8). This exhortation to us all is the only place in Scripture where the adjective courteous is used. The origin of the Greek word translated courteous is two words – one meaning ‘friendly’ and the other meaning ‘to rein in or curb the feelings of the mind’ – combined to form a Greek word meaning ‘friendly of mind.’ What a fitting definition! We all know that courtesy is not simply good behavior, but polite behavior.