World kindness day was recently celebrated. So I searched for some encouraging phrases about kindness.
- If you can be anything, be kind.
- Choose your words wisely.
- Perform random acts of kindness.
- Always be a little kinder than necessary.
- Kindness is free. Let’s pass it on.
These are all great words of wisdom. Words easier said than done. Why is that?
When someone offends me or slows me down, why are my first thoughts to go for the jugular instead of offering a warm hand of understanding. Most people are looking for redemption while withholding it from others. Why is it so difficult to be kind to others when that’s all anyone is looking for in their own moments of failure?
Why is kindness so hard? Why does it seem that we’re being put out if we have to extend a helping hand or apologize? Especially when it’s someone who rubs us the wrong way.
It’s critical that we choose to honor those we disagree with. –John Bevere
What comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. Matthew 15:18
It most likely started as a practical joke. A prized possession was missing. If it was taken as a joke, then the joke soon got out of hand. The owner was highly offended. Management got involved. Soon HR was on the scene. The joke had gone too far too fast, without the possibility of being reeled in. The supposed offender did not raise their hand in humility and repentance. They were too embarrassed. What could they say? What would become of them? What type of punishment would be administered?
A week later the offended was still visibly upset. She couldn’t move past the incident. Her inexpensive souvenir was gone. Lost forever. She filed an incident report with Security and building management. I was the key witness. I was the one person who had knowledge of this item’s last whereabouts. A lot of pressure for something that had been blown too far out of proportion.
Now she is making veiled threats if the offender is ever identified. But basically, the truth of what’s in her heart has been identified. The state of her heart has been placed on public display. It isn’t pretty. Retaliation. Vengeance. Bitterness. Hatred. One never would have thought that this behavior would come from her. But what is within becomes outward if the opportunity arises.
Everyone we disagree with bears the image of God. –Greg McNichols
Why is it so easy to lash out at someone rather than take a step back and breathe?
When someone rubs you the wrong way, just step back. Just for a minute. When you’re in the checkout line and the person checking out has a full cart, just take a breath. Not a noticeable sigh. Pause. Just know that at one time or another, you too have been the cause of someone else’s frustration.
I’m talking to myself here.
You should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you. Matthew 7:12
I wonder what would happen if I treated everyone the way I wanted to be treated. Sure. I get it. Not everyone wants to be treated the way I do, but I want to be treated kindly. And fairly. I want others to respect my privacy and my opinion. We don’t have to agree, but we can still get along.
It sounds like common sense to me, but I’ve come to realize that some aren’t born with common sense. The Bible says that we are only evil all the time. Without God as our guide and compass, we will be unkind. We will treat others unfairly. We will take when we should give. We will undermine the goodness of others. We will steal, kill, cheat and lie. We want to have our way and we want it now.
What will it take to change? What has to happen to get the ugly out of your heart? Hearts can change. Repentance. Forgiveness. New habits. New attitude. God is in the business of changing hearts. We must be willing.