The Kindness of Ordinary People . . .

“. . . That best part of a … life: little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love . . .” [Tintern Abbey, William Wordsworth]

Someone blessed me last night. Not with words, nor prayer, nor anything of note–just an ordinary act of kindness. And in the moments following, that ‘kindness’ seed began to ferment in my own spirit. I thought about it all the way home, and woke up early today, still thinking about it.

It’s not easy being kind, when we grow up in environments where kind acts are seen as weakness, and met with ridicule. I grew up in a family where kindness was countered with perverse acts of meanness. So for most of my life, I’ve been a ‘hard-case’ character–wary, untrusting, and sometimes, downright mean. Have you ever seen that in yourself?

The problem with being mean is that it triggers the meanness in other people. And escalating cycle of meanness spiral downward into spiteful, aggressive behavior, anger, hatred, and violence–by people, and nations. So I’m working on practicing liberating acts of kindness.

Even if this is a new realization for me, I’ve experienced the kindness of ordinary people everywhere. For me, it’s felt like water over parched earth. All those acts of kindness took years to soak in and soften the soil of my heart. But little by little, I’ve absorbed their kindness, and grown softer, more pliable, and more vulnerable to  his Word, bearing fruit from the seeds of kindness that all those ordinary people have sown into my life.

That’s a God thing. He knew what I needed to get where he wants me to be, and to be who He’s called me to be.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:12-14)

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