Decent Manners and Good Conduct
By Archdeacon Habib Guirgus
How should a Christian act? The late Archdeacon Habib Guirgus writes of Christian values and etiquette here.
Be decent and
polite in all your behaviors and statements and do not do anything that might
tempt others. Be a perfect example and a good leader in all good deeds. This
will help you educate others. Be always humble, smiling, nice, decent,
peaceful, and perfect because the external decent image of a person is a proof
of a good internal image. And you will be like a preacher that reflects the
purity of the Christina religion. For example, if an atheist in the early days
of the Church, met another atheist, found him nice and decent; he would ask him
if he had met a Christian in his way? That is because the look and the behavior
of the Christians were nice, decent, polite, and perfect. They reflected this
image in other people just by meeting them or looking at their eyes. So why do
you not follow their steps and walk in the perfect direction that they
followed? The metal of the bell can be known from the ring of the bell, so be
careful not to be a stranger from the 'sheep of Israel' with your manners and
The value of the person in this life and the coming one, is not how much money he saved or how much power he has obtained or names and titles he gained, but with what he has in his soul of good quality and decent behaviors. Examples of such are humbleness, helping others, good character, and a clean heart and soul.
Let the virtues in you be natural and do not fake it. Do not wear the dress of lies because it is transparent because no matter how the person tries to hide his bad behavior it will not be a shield from many and thus will appear. Nonetheless if you can hide it from all the people you will not by any means hide it from God. Your exterior tells what is inside you and it is reflected on your face. So whatever you have, either bad or good character, everybody will be able to read it in your eyes and it surfaces on your exterior. From the beat of the watch you can tell how good it is. Also from your exterior looks people can tell your character and behavior. The Holy Spirit demonstrated to us on the voice of wise warning against folly saying "A scoundrel and villain who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart-he always stir up dissension" (Proverbs 6: 12-14).
Know that the heart has doors, influences enter through it, and these doors are the senses, and without it the soul will not be able to identify anything, so all what you see, hear, touch, taste, or smell is felt instantly. The senses that have an effect on the soul are both the vision and the hearing, so what you see with your eyes or hear with your ears goes quickly to your heart. As a consequence if what you see and hear is good it gets reflected on your soul and if these senses transfer to your heart bad vision or bad hearings your heart gets this picture imprinted in it. Exactly like the house that has doors open at all times, to the exterior and interior, allowing wind, dust, and other things to enter with no restrictions. It is impossible that you can feel secure inside, same as for the soul without limits all the bad ideas and bad pictures enter it and it is hard for this soul to live quietly and peacefully, but it will always be agitated and worried. So protect your soul and make sure that your senses do not accept what is evil and dirty.
Be decent and respect everybody, acquire kind habits, and escape from the seats of the scornful and bad companies. Be pleasant and happy in your relations and don't get used to depression, do not frown so you do not disturb those around you; finish all your work peacefully and quietly after understanding without being upset. Stay away from evil in all your behavior and sayings. Protect your mind; keep it pure and only deal with righteous people.
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