Lenten Study Day 15

Remember Your Manners

Cleansing of Lepers

When I was a little girl, my mother always had strict instructions before we went out, “Don’t leave Mr. Manners at home!” Back then, kids were expected to practice good manners at home so they knew how to behave when they went out. Sometimes going somewhere new was so exciting, it was easy to forget my manners. Thus the caution from my mother.

We used to call manners “common courtesy.” It seems terribly uncommon these days. We all seem to think we can say what want and act how we like wherever we are. Boy, is this a really bad idea!

Believe it or not, manners are not some outdated practice that went the way of the Victorian Era. Manners actually made life much easier for all of us. I never felt uncomfortable since I had been trained in the proper behavior for most situations. I knew how to behave at the dinner table when we went out. I knew to shake hands. I never pushed my way ahead of anyone when entering a building or elevator. All this wasn’t difficult. Most of it was just common sense.

Of course, the most important thing I was taught to remember was please and thank you. “What’s the magic word?” could be heard in homes across America every day. And when we were given something, we would be asked, “What do you say?” Every child that could speak knew what to say. Please and thank you. They were just a natural part of our lives.

Good manners are never wrong as we learn in today’s story. Who would have thought a lesson on good manners could be found right there in the Bible. Of course, there are many lessons on good manners but this one is just so blatant. Jesus heals 10 lepers and only one comes back to say, “Thank you!” Granted, He told them to go to the priests but, once each saw they had been healed, wouldn’t you think they would all come back to say, “Thanks?” But no, only one came back and he was a Samaritan. The one who might have been forgiven his bad manners, because he was from a different culture, was the only to show the common courtesy of thanking Jesus. And Jesus had plenty to say about it!

Bad manners are just bad form. There is no excuse for not at least saying, “Thank you” when someone does something nice for you. This is a great lesson for parents and children alike. Never leave Mr. Manners at home!

Discussion Questions

1. Does your family practice common courtesy in your home?

2. Are you teaching your children the importance of good manners?

3. What type of example do you set for your children?

4. Do you make it clear that you expect good manners from everyone in the family both at home and away?

5. If manners are lax in your home, how might you begin to change that today?

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