The British television series Downton Abbey has been an overwhelming and surprising success. Not only is it extremely popular in England and America, but it is also one of the most viewed exports in Australia, Norway, Belgium, Israel and Iceland and is a hit in Sweden, South Korea, the Middle East and many other countries. The writer and actors of this series have been blown away by the response.
The New York Times described Downton Abbey as a “British dramedy of manners.” Could it be that one of the reasons for its popularity is the refreshing reappearing of good old-fashioned manners – something that has become rather scarce in this day and age?
I know I appreciate it when manners are practiced – when men hold open a door for a woman, when children say “please” and “thank you.” Unfortunately, because it is not as common as it used to be, when someone is practicing good manners, they stand out.
Speeches and formal announcements still begin with Ladies and Gentlemen – a greeting considerably more distinguished than Women and Men. When a man is called a true gentleman that is meant as a compliment. When a woman is referred to as a lady, her gentle characteristics are recognized. Not every woman is a lady, nor is every man a gentleman.
Ladies and gentleman are people of character. Every young female is a girl and every adult female is a woman, but it takes effort to be a lady. Every young male is a boy and every adult male is a man, but it takes work to be a gentleman.
God wants His sons and daughters to be people of good, gentle character. He can even take people with very rough, crude backgrounds and transform them into ladies and gentlemen.
Iris Blue’s testimony is a wonderful example of what God can do. She was a very rebellious young person, ran away from home, got involved in drugs and was sentenced to eight years in prison on armed robbery charges. Her attitude in prison was so bad that she had to serve an even longer sentence. After leaving prison, she continued on her path of rebellion until a young man told her about Jesus Christ and how He loved her. She responded to His love and her testimony is that she “knelt down a tramp and stood up a lady.”
God’s design for Iris was to transform her so she could share HIs love with others, which she does.
True manners are not pretentious. Ladies and gentleman practice manners because they are considerate of others and have a gentle spirit. That is how we should represent our Father. It is part of the fruit of His Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:23). Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5 NAS).