I’m constantly stunned by how inconsiderate and selfish people are becoming. Rudeness seems to be the new epidemic in human interactions. What’s equally disturbing is that everyone seems to accept it. We’ve come to expect unkindness as the new norm.
People don’t look each other in the eye either. Frankly, it’s much easier to be rude to someone you don’t bother looking at. Why? Well, if you see a person, I mean really see him or her as another person who is a living, breathing reflection of the invisible God, it’s much more difficult to be dismissive. If you keep it impersonal, you can remain aloof and maintain your “whatever,” “it-is-what-it-is” attitude as you walk right by focused on doing your own thing and not caring about anyone else. It’s this intentional refusal to connect that allows you to view others as just another something in your way instead of someone you just walked on to get where you wanted to go.
Recently, I overheard a caller on a local radio station bragging about her vanity license plate that reads ALLABOUTME. She was proud to say that when a questioning driver pulled up next to her at a signal light and inquired through the car window, “Is that really true?” her response was “H*ll yea!” And frankly, she’s not alone.
When it’s all about us, we don’t have time to be kind. Honestly, we don’t even notice opportunities to be kind. It simply does not cross our minds, revealing that for most of us, it really is all about us. Ugh!
And that’s why the call to kindness in the Bible is so counter to the way we think as individuals and how we live together as a society.
In what many have come to see as the greatest description of love ever written, Paul penned “love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). Kindness is the byproduct of love. Listen as he describes the characteristics of a loving heart:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
How much different would our world be right now, today, if we simply practiced kindness? What would happen if we started looking people in the eye and treating them with kindness, like they really mattered? Would the whole world change? Probably not. But I can certainly tell you that at least two lives would be changed: Yours and the recipient of your kindness.
So here’s my challenge: Practice kindness.
Be intentional about being kind. And then post your stories of sharing kindness and how it’s changing you. But also share the responses from those on the receiving end of your kindness.
I’m in. Are you?