We live in a broken, fallen world.
Unfortunately, what we see and what we hear about is only death, despair, pain, and the evil that pervades our world. And our society eats it up, devours it with an unprecedented ferocity. We rarely go outside for fear of the possible evil lurking around the corner. We don’t try to know our neighbors for fear of who they may be. We judge a person’s character based on a stereotype and hardly venture to seek the truth as to who they really are. We go through our day avoiding connecting with people and convince ourselves - “I have my own troubles” or “my life is complicated enough” or “I’m just going to do me.” We smile and nod at people, asking “how are you” without pausing to hear the answer or really caring what that answer might be. We live our lives artificially - vicariously experiencing things through other people’s posts on social media. Reading the one-sided news, arguing with “friends” online over policy, politics, race or religion, believing that our opinion, when voiced strongly enough or angrily enough, will somehow change people’s minds or beliefs. Daily we fill our minds and our souls with all the crud the world offers.
But there is one thing that can make all the difference in this world.
I know what you’re thinking - “love” - but it is much harder said than done to love people. When the kid cuts in front of you in the lunch line, when your mom yells at you for seemingly nothing, when your little brother or sister breaks something you hold dear, when your best friend turns their back on you, when your “friend” starts an argument online and says things they would never dare to say in person. You may not necessarily feel like loving them at that moment (even though you should love them), but what you can do is take a deep breath and respond with kindness and goodness.
Start up a conversation with the kid who cut in front of you, ask your mom how her day was and how you can help out, hug your little brother or sister and tell them that what they did hurt your feelings but that you love them anyway, still smile and say “Hi,” when you see your now ex-bestie in the hall, write something nice about the person, refuse to take part in the argument and talk to them (yes, with real words, and in person) about what was really going on.
Kindness and goodness — it can tear down stereotypes, destroy boundaries, and wipe out fear.
Step out of your comfort zone. Be bold.
Actively look for ways to be kind.
WRITTEN BY: ALLISON GORBENKO
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is ...kindness, goodness...
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant..
1 CORINTHIANS 13:4
- Why is Galatians 5:22 important for us as we strive to look like Jesus and live like Jesus?
- How can Ephesians 4:32 give us the strength we need as we seek to be kind and compassionate to others, even when we don’t feel like they deserve it?
- Read Psalm 23:6 — While we shouldn’t do good for the hope of receiving a pat on the back or a reward, what is the ultimate reward for spreading the kindness and goodness of Jesus?
Take a few moments to think about your daily life. Ask God to show you who you need to practice kindness with today, and how you can actually and practically show them that kindness.