“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8, 9).
Courtesy is normally extended only to those who are courteous to you. Business has long practiced being courteous to customers because it is profitable. The old line “the customer is always right” is still used by some businesses.
But Christian courtesy goes further than this! The Christian is to be courteous to brethren/sisters as well as to others. Peter encourages the Christian, in verse 9, to repay evil or an insult with blessing not because we want to, but because we are called to act in this fashion. In so doing we will inherit a blessing.
It is not always easy to be courteous. Sometimes we would like to do the unchristian thing and bust them in the mouth! However, the Lord did not respond in this way and the Christian should not, either. We are extremely patient with those who can do us a service, yet the same patience and courtesy should be extended to those who can do us no service at all. – John McCourt, from a 1976 bulletin, Amarillo, Texas
William Lyon Phelps* said: “This is the final test of a gentleman [and of course, also of a lady]: his/her respect for those who can be of no possible service to him [or her]”.
* William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943): critic, scholar and professor of literature