Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel
Last night I was talking to a close friend on the phone, catching up on the events of our lives. We talked about marriage, personal struggles, how our kids are doing, the ups and downs of everyday life. She shared some new struggles she is facing and how she was afraid to tell me fearing I would judge her. And of course I didn’t. After we said our goodbyes, I laid in bed and thought of how little we know of those around us. It’s so easy to go about our day not recognizing people. And I felt very convicted to be cognizent of how I treat others.
I know my husband well. We have a shared story, we parent together, we make decisions as a single unit. Yet there are still disappointment, hurts and fears we do not share with each other. We all have hidden thoughts and emotions. We all have scars. We all have pain in our past and often in our today. And what it made me remember is this – kindness counts. It matters.
Sometimes it’s as simple as a smile and a “hi” when you pass in the hall, or maybe it’s helping someone reach a can on a high shelf at the grocery store, or holding the door open for someone going in or out behind you. Maybe it’s a card in the mail saying “I’ve been thinking about you and you have been in my prayers. Just want you to know I care”. Often times it’s remaining calm and polite instead of reacting rudely when someone gripes a little too much, is a bit too sharp in their response or brushes you off when you try to speak.
Kindness. It’s very easy to give to others. You just never know what someone else is going through and how a little gesture of kindness may impact their day. Because we don’t know someone’s story fully. It’s very easy to judge others but the truth is, we simply don’t know what someone else is facing. It could be the stressed mom at the grocery store who just found out her parent was diagnosed with a life altering disease and has little time left, or maybe it’s the elderly man at the gas station who is struggling to fill his tank because his dementia is worsening and he is afraid of who will care for him when the rest of his memory fades, or the teenage boy walking down the street whose parents are divorcing after finding out one of them has been having an affair, or the man in your office who has to go home and tell his wife their house is going into foreclosure after struggling financially for the past year because of the many months he was without work after losing his last job to a poor economy, or the lady at church whose adult child is caught up in the haze of drug abuse, or the teenager with constant thoughts of suicide trying to hide the depression and despair or the little girl who ends her days enduring sexual abuse by an older step brother. It’s very easy to wake up every morning, get dressed, comb your hair, put some make up on and move about your day without giving any indication of the pain and stress in your soul. We so quickly judge people based on how stylish their clothes are, how much they weigh, what car they drive, how many degrees they have earned, how good they are at sports or how big their house is. But those give no indication of the pain they carry every day.
Kindness counts. It looks beyond the obvious, it sees no boundaries or limits, it seeps into the cracks of a hardened heart, it impacts the outlook of a weary mind. Kindness is color on a cloudy day. It’s refreshment to a thirsty soul. It’s joy in the unexpected moment.
The Bible tells us to be kind…
Colossians 3:12 ~ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…
Ephesians 4:32 ~ Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…
Luke 6:35 ~ But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return
You never know if your smile, your small gesture of picking up a dropped item at the store, your sweet word of acknowledgement or your short conversation about the weather may be the only act of kindness someone receives during their day. We simply don’t know another’s story. Kindness counts.