YOU are so annoying! I can’t believe you would say that and act that way. But why should I be surprised? This has happened to me before. I know your intentions. I have you summed up better than a college math professor! Next person who comes along, I might just lose my crap.
Ok, I really don’t feel that way about you! But I’m glad I have your attention ;). How many times has a conversation SIMILAR to this run through your brain? You’re like… good thing this is a blog post, she can’t see my reaction! Haha. We’ve all been there.
Let’s talk about something simple/complicated…. Kindness. Kindness is really a simple concept, but it can be hard at times for multiple reasons. We all can agree that our world needs more of it but sometimes, we don’t even do it ourselves!
“He gave orders for anyone who could swim to dive in and go for it, and for the rest to grab a plank. Everyone made it to shore safely. Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The natives went out of their way to be friendly to us. The day was rainy and cold and we were already soaked to the bone, but they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.”
This passage comes out of Acts 28 in the Bible. LONG story short: Paul was on a boat, a huge storm came, and well, they found themselves shipwrecked on Malta.
The important part here, though, is the people of Malta were kind… they were unusually kind. Meaning, they reacted above common, ordinary, and acceptable. Have you ever personally experienced unusual kindness from someone else?
Some of you wish you got a hug from Blake Shelton! Here are some practical ways we can get our kind on:
1. Kindness beyond your pace. Slow your roll. I know we are all busy individuals, but if we are ever going to take time for people… we need to “take time.” Give yourself margin. Slow your pace. If you’re moving fast and going from one thing to the next, you literally miss people. Set yourself up to intentionally notice others with an open heart.
2. Kindness beyond your emotions. Keep track of your emotions. We shouldn’t use our emotions to determine if we extend kindness or not. There will be moments when you don’t want to extend kindness… Yeah. I get that. It would be weird if I said I loved when:
- people have raced to get in front of me while driving, only to slow their pace.
- I bought a homeless man a sandwich only for him to yell at me, “I don’t eat ham! You should have asked me first!”
- people have criticized the decisions I made or the way I’ve chosen to live my life.
Just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean I can’t do the right thing. A common theme in the Christian belief is “my life is not my own.” If my life is not my own and I represent Christ, even if I want to backhand someone, I remember I’m representing Him! I don’t need to ADD to the poor representations out there. Represent well.
3. Kindness beyond differences. When those shipwrecked landed on shore, the people of Malta didn’t say, “Boy, bye. No thanks, you look different than me” or “I have no freakin’ idea what you are saying. See ya!” NO! The people of Malta saw a need and responded with unusual kindness, breaking through racial and language barriers. We live in a VERY diverse world, filled with people who have the right to be respected and who are worthy of your kind demeanor. Kindness sees the human. Kindness sees your brother and your sister.
4. Kindness beyond the expected. When you wake up in the morning, you can’t always predict when your kindness is going to be needed. But, you can be ready when the opportunity presents itself. The people of Malta didn’t know that a bunch of dudes were going to wash up on their island that day! Just like you don’t know who is going to show up shipwrecked in your life. Don’t push people away. Build them a fire, bring them comfort. Lift them up.
5. Kindness beyond us. All these practical points are great, but if we do it from our own strength, we are bound to fail. And I say that from a “been there, done that” perspective. It’s difficult to be kind when you’re not connecting to the one who was first kind to YOU. It all starts with Jesus. “We love because He first loved us.” All this may sound bananas if you’re not a person of faith, but we learn and begin to understand unusual kindness, unusual love, when we experience it first hand from the God who loved us so much, He sent His son for us.
Remember, Kindness is transferrable!
So sneeze in the right direction! Kidding! Every comment, discussion, piece of direction, correction or encouragement should motivate others to love and do good.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
Instead of looking at your side/emotions/hurts, look at theirs. Instead of seeing the obstacle, see the opportunity! Today you have MULTIPLE opportunities for your actions to motivate people! Motivating people negatively, is poisonous. Your kindness though, is contagious.