Showing kindness and going the extra mile to help someone just doesn’t seem to be high on many people’s “must do” list. Sure, we could excuse our bad behavior by saying we’re just too busy, but the truth is we should never be too busy to show kindness to another. (Matthew 7:12 NIV) says So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Think about that “Golden Rule” for a moment. Maybe that’s what is happening. One person mistreats another, and the recipient pays that negative behavior forward until all that’s left is a chain of hurt and disillusionment.
To manage today’s scurried environment, we have learned it is much quicker to use every technological tool available for quick communication that requires very little if no response. We can hop on our electronic devices and text or email someone in a crisis. The problem with that stilted, one-sided, “so-called” empathy is that it offers little comfort or kindness. But, then again, it enables us to return to our self-absorbed lives and not get too involved with someone else’s drama.
Some even mistake kindness for weakness or pity. Heaven forbid we should shed a tear for those who are suffering, for the homeless, or those struggling in these dark days. What saddens me is that even in our Christian community, believers sit beside each other every week, never even saying “hello” or “how are you today?” We’ve become so wrapped up in our own lives that kindness seems something of the distant past. Showing compassion, comforting someone who is hurting, and empathizing with one’s needs requires so little effort on our part, yet we go day by day, week by week, missing opportunities to give a part of us that could be life-changing for another. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Even a simple thing like showing politeness and good manners can put a smile on someone’s face and make them forget about their troubles for a short while. Saying thank you for someone holding the door or holding the door yourself for a person struggling to get through it creates a connection. Doing these small things encourages us to make eye contact to acknowledge the other’s appreciation for that small act of kindness. Kindness and compassion are what make us human.
My challenge to you this month is that you think kind thoughts and act in kindness, even when others don’t do the same for you. Don’t pay the negative forward. Repay rudeness with kindness. You’ll be surprised how a kind word or a genuine compliment can change one’s dialogue or expression. I promise you God blesses those who bless others. Try it! Who knows, it might just catch on!