Be kind. Always.
That’s it. That’s the blog.
If you are a human being with any measure of decency, then you would say, “Yes!” “Amen!” or use some other affirmation to that.
You likely have read quotes on kindness and used them as your email tagline, printed them on rubber bracelets, or even tweeted, snapped, or ig’ed (is that a verb?) them yourself. Here are a few of my favorites.
Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.Ian MacLaren
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou
How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.Morgan Freeman
Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.Mark Twain
I could Google-continue for sure, but these are ones that always pop in my head. And, if a famous actor and three deceased writers aren’t convincing enough, I give you more reason to ponder on the thought farther than just a quick head nod.
And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God forgave you in Christ.Ephesians 4:32
Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love the brothers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.1 Peter 3:8-9
I am guilty of not showing kindness at different times during my life. I have done things that look like the opposite of the charge Peter gave the churches in Asia, Greece, and Turkey in the verse above.
I’ve not been sympathetic to whatever burden or heavy load that you’re carrying.
I’ve loved you – but sometimes only the ones of you that are easy to love, or that loved me back. Or that loved me first.
I’ve not shown compassion.
I’ve not chosen humility – the kind that thinks of myself less and others more.
And, instead of giving a blessing (a real blessing, not the “have a blessed day” attempt at making myself feel or sound more spiritual than I really am), I have been really good at paying back evil for evil and/or insult for insult.
Here’s the thing. It’s our nature. It’s our natural, sinful nature to be all those things I have been before.
It’s easy to love people who are lovable. But, God calls us to love our neighbor. Not just the neighbor who brought cookies when we moved in, but the one who won’t even wave back when we go to the mailbox.
It’s human nature to want to pay back those who have wronged us. We can’t look like we lost! Or show any sign of weakness. We don’t mind referencing Deuteronomy, “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” but seem to forget about the part where Jesus gives a new way to respond to those who have wronged us. You know, “turn the other cheek?” (It also says if someone takes your coat, give them your shirt too. Or if you get dragged a mile, go ahead and make it two miles.)
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to reach out to a few people that the Lord reminded me that I didn’t meet those expectations with at some point. Either I spoke to harshly (or at least not in a way that showed love and kindness), I had an encounter that didn’t look like I cared about them as a person, or I handled something that – while the result/decision might not have been different – could have played out looking more like Jesus and less like Greg.
It has been interesting to see the reactions. Someone more interested in the human psyche might want to sit down with me to hear the stories for the beginning of some kind of case study or research project. They included:
I have been thanked and then reconciled to that person.
I have left feeling like the person assumed I just wanted to ask them to do something for me – or that it somehow was of benefit me to apologize or else I wouldn’t be there.
I have listened to them tell me just why the apology was necessary (as if I didn’t know, since I initiated the conversation).
I have been ignored. The person either refused to return a call or email or ignored a text message (or multiple text messages) which means the conversation still has not happened.
So, here’s something to end with. I hope that each of you reading this are a better person than me. I hope you have never spoken a word in harsh tones, sarcasm, or to make yourself feel better at someone else’s expense. I applaud those of you that have always been humble, sympathetic, loving and. . . well. . . . kind.
But, if you find yourself guilty of the same shortcomings that I have described in myself, I challenge you to start a list. A list of people that you know have been the recipient of something less than kindness. Then call them. Text them. Go eat lunch with them. Give them a hug. Something. Anything.
If you’re someone that is reading this thinking, “He hasn’t tried to find me. And I still am hurt from the time he ________ (fill in the blank).” Then, I either didn’t know (I often walk through life in oblivion, it isn’t personal) or don’t remember (since losing Kane in 2017 and just getting old(er) in general, the memory that once was something I relied on heavily has all but disappeared – still, nothing personal).
I sincerely would love an opportunity to make it right. My cell is (731) 571-5672. You can call or text me anytime. Life is too short to leave something unsaid, awkward, or unhealed between two people that probably do care about each other at some level – or at least did at some point.
If you’ve seen The Green Mile, then you may remember a scene late in the movie where Paul (Tom Hanks) is struggling with being the one to help put John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) to death. John’s response is to tell him that the burden of trying to do good in a world that isn’t has exhausted him and that dying would be a blessing.
The part of his response that resonated with me was when he said, “Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other.”
Me too, John. Me, too.
Be kind. Always.
That’s it. That’s the blog