By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
How kind are we as a people? How kind are you as an individual? 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NIV) puts it like this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Kindness is another fruit of the Spirit. It is an aspect of love that is caring and considerate and would not be ill-mannered or selfish or irritable. A kindhearted person has no need to be jealous or conceited or proud because there is no competition or comparison.
Such a person is not keeping a record to throw wrongs in another person’s face, especially if there has been an apology, but even if there has not (unless dealing with abuse when personal safety is of the highest and a court case may require evidence). Kindness is not weakness; rather it is wise sensitivity. There needs to be boundaries as to how far it will allow others to be unkind. The Lord says to be wise but harmless.
Let us look at some different areas in more detail:
What does kindness look like in parliamentary debate? What does it mean to speak the truth in love? How sensitive to the feelings of others should one be? How can a position be asserted without gross exaggeration? People look to political and religious authority figures to provide leadership in the things of God.
What does kindness look like when we drive on our streets? How do we feel when someone suddenly lets us out of a corner where we have waited for quite some time?
How kind are we behind closed doors? How do we treat the other persons in our homes? Our children are living with too much cruelty.
In the food store we may use our change to help someone whose bill is higher than expected. Do we strike up an encouraging conversation with the person packing our groceries?
Simple acts of kindness are possible everyday: To pick extra fruit or vegetables to share with neighbours, a hospital visit during visiting hours to spend a short time with someone who has no one visiting, and to read to pre-school children or help an elderly person across the road.
Let us all change the temperature of cold shoulders and cool reception by being more warm and friendly wherever we are.
Let our kindness not be aimed at tourist dollars or tips, but a genuine concern for others, even where there is no reward. May our kindness help to heal the wounded spirits and grieving hearts of those around us.
Let us pray for the Lord to touch our hearts to be kind and caring. May our homes be places where kindness is taught and experienced on a daily basis, and may you truly desire for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.