One Act of Kindness
It's not surprising to anyone these days that kindness is in short supply in our world. If you haven't been living under a rock these last 18 months, you've seen protests turn to riots. A tiny virus makes the world sick and kills a larger-than-we'd-ever imagined bunch of people. Political unrest. People rob stores in broad daylight in some west coast cities and no one bothers to stop them. Others break into fist fights over something as silly as a birthday party.
Social media has erupted into "cancel culture" where those who don't share the majority's opinion are having their posts removed or being removed themselves from the platform.
And I don't know about you, but doesn't it seem that people in general are more argumentative, more unforgiving, and more (for lack of a better word) snarky? Is this our new normal? If it is, then pardon me for saying so, but it sucks.
Some blame it on one political party or another. Some blame it on the lockdowns imposed as a result of the virus. After all, people weren't meant to live in isolation. That's why solitary confinement has been a form of punishment in prisons. Perhaps living indoors and isolated for so long has made us forget how to behave in public. At any rate, civility is in short supply these days.
That's why I was so touched recently to see two stories featured on social media. In one instance, a boy of ten or so caught a foul ball at a major league baseball game. In all the excitement he must not have noticed a little girl of about six or eight who had been trying for the ball as well. While the boy is holding up his new treasure and people are applauding, he finally notices the girl crying a few seats away. Not hesitating, he reaches over and gives her the ball. It was one of the sweetest things I've seen in awhile. Here's that video:
Another instance occurred during a high school's homecoming celebration. One of the girls vying for homecoming queen stood with her father on the football field, but she was not smiling much. Turns out the girl's mother had passed away that morning from cancer. She didn't win the title of homecoming queen, but the classmate who did win showed everyone something extraordinary. She took off the crown, walked to the girl whose mother had died, and placed the crown on her head instead. The two young ladies hugged and tears streamed from both their eyes.
(photo by Rick Karle, WVTM 13)
Both incidents took place at very public events. These young people demonstrated love and kindness in front of hundreds of others. And by watching them, I gain back a little of the hope I've lost. If these sweet kids are able not only to recognize the hurt of another but also DO something about it, then perhaps all those who witnessed their acts will be moved just as deeply. Maybe before someone posts another insult, he or she might take a step back and rethink it. And if our nation's young people keep demonstrating such beautiful empathy, then maybe the adults will learn how to do the same.
But let's not leave it to the kids to show us how to love each other. Somewhere in our pasts there once was a time when someone was kind to us. Perhaps our parents told us, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Remember that phrase? There's a lot of wisdom in that.
And if we're Christians, we have a responsibility to love others and show God's kindness to the world. The Bible says, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do" (Colossians 3:12-13).
So take hope from these kindnesses. Then, to the best of your ability, pass it on.
Until next time,