Being Kind in an Unkind World
by Donna Schlachter
It seems that our world has been traveling a slippery slope over the past few years where everybody feels they have a right to say what they want. In the United States, we enjoy freedom of speech under our constitution, but I suspect we’re applying that right in ways our founding fathers never intended.
When we consider the world as it was in 1776, Great Britain ruled with a big stick, particularly over the “colonials” in America. If we the people complained, the British government raised a tax, imposed a sanction or simply squelched the rebellion, as it was considered then.
When our founding fathers designed the constitution and subsequent amendments, they did so to permit the most freedom while constraining against anarchy, division and separation. In short, the freedoms are there to ensure the government doesn’t control us, but rather that we are the government.
However, as with most issues, taken to their extreme, freedom can cause problems. We can pick up a newspaper or watch a news program and see that the peaceful protest envisioned in our constitution has morphed into a demonstration of hate, a language of ridicule and mocking, and an insistence that diversity is key while still shutting down those avenues of communication for those who don’t toe the current politically correct line.
So how can we overcome the fear and division that threatens the fabric of our country? How can we talk with people who disagree with us, sharing thoughts and ideas that are contrary to what we believe, and rather than tear down, build people up?
Let’s look to the greatest book of wisdom ever written: The Bible.
Ephesians 4:31-32 “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ”: we can’t show kindness unless we’ve had kindness shown to us in the form of forgiveness of our sins by God. So the next time we want to be angry with somebody, we should consider that God was kind to us before we ever deserved it.
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil”: Another reminder that God is kind to us when we come to Him. Choosing to love others will be difficult, but it is the right thing to do.
2 Samuel 9:7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”: Being kind is as easy as treating others as you want to be treated.
Why Should We be Kind?
- God says it’s the right thing to do
- It demonstrates God’s love not only for us but for all people
- People remember when they are treated right
- Kindness makes us feel better about our relationship with God
- Kindness sets the example for others to follow
How Can We Be Kind?
- Pray for those you don’t feel particularly compassionate about. Ask God to show you how He feels about them.
- Look for ways to meet their needs. For example, if a homeless person approaches you and asks for money, but that doesn’t make you comfortable, tell them you don’t give out money, but you will buy what he needs. Often they are hungry, or would like a new pair of socks, or need a bus ticket.
- Spend time with people who don’t agree with you, and listen to them. Don’t try to set them straight or change their minds. Just listen to them.
- Look for areas where you and others agree, rather than stirring up dissent or looking for division. Proverbs 16:23-24 “From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Doing something kind for another—particularly one who we feel doesn’t deserve it—shows the love of God to them. When God works through us, we become more like Him, and that’s good for us. Remember that others are watching all the time, particularly if they know we profess Christ. There are many opportunities every day to fail, and that’s satan’s goal—to bring something into our path that we stumble on. Instead, let’s look for ways to overcome the world with the love of Christ.
- Smile often—even behind a mask, a smile can be seen.
- Stop and listen—be willing to have our schedule interrupted.
- Pray for those we meet every day. It’s hard to be angry toward those we pray for.
- Look for ways to help meet physical needs—a hungry stomach will not feed on spiritual food alone.
- Carry bottles of water and snacks in your car to hand out to the homeless or those begging on street corners. Include a pocket testament and the name of a nearby food bank, shelter or place where they can get a meal.
- Hire a beggar who says they’ll work for food. If you’re not comfortable with having them in your house, arrange for yard work, outside painting, car wash, window washing, tree trimming and so on.
For more scripture verses and ideas, check out https://biblereasons.com/kindness/ where you can also search for articles on other topics of interest.
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