Be Kind

kind[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32

As I drove home on a beautiful Friday afternoon, I passed an elder care facility and noticed a woman in her motorized wheelchair smiling as she made her way down the sidewalk enjoying the day.

As I got closer, a car was coming in the other direction, and as it got closer to the woman, I could hear a volley of derogatory comments from this car full of teenaged boys.  The things they yelled at this poor woman were unbelievable!  She was just enjoying the day.

Who would do that? Why do people continue to put other people down?  Does it make these teens feel better about their hollow lives by putting down an elderly woman in a wheelchair?  Because people are different, why do we feel we need to berate them?

“To belittle, you have to be little.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

The loneliest people are the kindest.  The saddest people are the brightest.  The most damaged people are the wisest.  All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.

As I drove on, I began to think about my own judgmental behavior.  Unwittingly, I find myself judging others.  I am sure you do, too.  I don’t think I have the answer to get everyone to stop being judgmental, but, I think I have my answer.

The antidote to this behavior is kindness.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James

Our job is not to judge who is and who isn’t worthy of our kindness, our job is to be kind unconditionally, without fail, even when it is difficult to do so.

Here are some things we can do to be kinder and less judgmental and to live our lives in a new, compassionate and respectful way:

  1.  Be open-minded.  People come in different sizes, colors, and cultures.  Just because they are different from ours, we need to stay open minded.  Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  We don’t know what they are battling.  Be kind.
  2. Appreciate People for who they are.  We all have our uniqueness, celebrate the things that make us different.
  3. Smile, Say hello, and thank you.  Simple things like a warm greeting, a big smile and a thank you can make someone’s day.
  4. Say a kind word to a stranger. You will forget tomorrow the kind words you said today, but the recipient may cherish them for a lifetime.
  5. Give people hope.  Encouragement has lasting value.  Challenge people to keep their vision alive.

This week, let’s make an effort to be kind.  If we are conscious of our interactions, we can be successful.  Let’s try it for a week and see if kindness makes a difference.  I predict we will want to make it a way of life.  And, maybe it will rub off on others, like those teenagers in the car berating the woman in the wheelchair. We can only hope.

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