You've surely heard some of these sayings:
- "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."
- "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
- "Be ye kind one to another."
- "Being kind is more important than being right."
Why kindness? I believe our culture is moving in a troubling direction. With the accelerated use of social media, people are feeling freer and freer to voice their tactless opinions as they hide behind their phones or laptops. It's so much easier to be blunt and say what you think when you know you won't have a face-to-face encounter. And if someone disagrees with you--or even verbally assaults you--you can remove them from your account with no remorse because, more-than-likely, you'll never see them again. You feel safe...and right.
When Zach was about 6-years-old (which means I was in my early 30's), I asked him if he wanted to go to Walmart with me. He asked why I was going (surely wondering if there was a prize involved). I told him I had to take some things back to the store. He quickly said, "NO! I don't want to go with you!" His reply was so quick, so curt, and so emphatic, that I asked him why he didn't want to go. I'll never forget his reply. He said, "Because you're mean when you take things back to the store." Wow!! What an explosion of truth from the mouth of a child--my child! I had to stop and examine my life. Was I mean? Probably. I think I actually approached people with defensiveness. I wanted to be in control of a situation to avoid rejection or disapproval--which I constantly expected. I
When you feel right, you come off as judgmental, accusatory, condemning, self-righteous, egotistical, and snobbish. And when you approach people with that attitude, they're going to be defensive and you'll never achieve your objective. I didn't realize it, but my mean attitude was getting me what I feared most--rejection. What a cycle! I learned that I could be right...or I could have a relationship. Not both.
Kindness changes everything. EVERYTHING! You become more approachable--you even look kind. People are more willing to listen to you. You're more apt to get kindness in return. And people want to be around you--kindness promotes relationships!
Looking back, I realize God had to break through some pretty stubborn resistance in my life and He knew His most powerful and effective tool would be one of my kids. It was like running head-long into a mirror and seeing my heart the way God saw it. But in His incredible grace, He offered me the chance to change and grow and I determinedly drew a line in the sand. The only way I could have any lasting change in my life was through the power of the Holy Spirit. I had to let Him have control and allow Him to transform me. Becoming kind was a process. But fruit-growing always is.
Be kind. Teach your children kindness by instructing them but especially with your example. They're watching...I have concrete evidence!