I don’t know if you have noticed it but it seems to be everywhere; at the grocery store, at work, at school, at the mall, even on the way to these places. People are angry! I was in the grocery store the other day, and it was crowded, the isles were jammed and I came around the corner and almost got in a head on collision with our shopping carts. I said ‘sorry’ and made some funny comment about needing traffic lights in the store, thinking it would bring a smile. Yet this person got angry and barked out some unkind words and with a furrowed brow, said through clenched teeth, “GET-OUT-OF-MY-WAY!” I thought they were joking, but their aggressive move with their cart made everyone get out of their way. I was stunned. Why so unkind? Why so much anger?? This anger and lack of kindness is all around us; people yelling at other drivers, bullies at school and work, demanding, hostile, harsh, customers in stores. It’s depressing!
I did however see a ray of sunshine in this dark cloud of cruelty. An older woman was struggling to lift a case of waters into her cart and a younger man, noticed her plight, stepped in, and with a smile and a twinkle in his eye said, “Oh grandma, may I help you.” She returned the smile and agreed, thanking the young man over and over again. It made me smile and the people in that isle too. Right after this, on this same isle, with all of us who observed this act of kindness started being nice, courteous, and helpful to others. Yes, kindness is contagious, and kindness makes a difference.
All over the Bible we are encouraged to be kind…
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
The word ‘hospitality’ here in 1 Peter 4:9 means ‘be kind to strangers.’ We are even challenged to be kind to those who are not so nice.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He (Jesus) is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
The challenge from Jesus is clear:
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
To be kind is that attitude and action of loving others. In the Bible book of Colossians 3:12-14 there is a great list of what it means to be kind.
Colossians 3:12-14 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Ok, yes read it again. This is a great list for it does make a difference when we demonstrate kindness as we are compassionate, patient, humble, helping, and forgiving. Jesus is our best example and we are most like Him when we are kind. Kindness changes the atmosphere like that isle in the grocery story as that young man helped that lady.
I wonder what would happen at home, in the office, at school, on the roads if we sought to initiate kindness rather than react in anger. Why not try? I believe it could help melt the cold angry hearts this world tends to produce. Kindness could also defuse the hostility of those bullies we seem to be encountering more and more. We could even make someone’s day by being kind. Let’s be kind and make a difference.
Though I know no church is perfect and maybe even unkind things have happened there, but church is a great place to learn about the kindness of God. If you are not connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . We would love for you to join us.
Seeking to bring acts of kindness alongside you,