If you are like me there are times when you watch the news, read the paper, listen to people talking about “what’s going on in the world” and get very sad and discouraged. We are, without a doubt, in a strange and peculiar time in our country. In the midst of dealing with all these strange times I find my mind going back to one particular subject. So in this letter today, I would like to share a few thoughts about it.
I have been thinking about kindness for a while now. There seems to be such a lack of kindness in so many ways. Recently I heard someone I love very much talk about a group of people in a very unkind, prejudice way. It broke my heart. I knew this person was “on the edge” of either being insightful, kind and caring or becoming harsh, suspicious and prejudice. It broke my heart to see the person go that way.
It takes so little effort, involves so little work to be kind. The smallest of kind acts, words, or even looks, can truly turn someone’s day around. It can set off a series of reactions that spread so far, impacting so many people.
I am also finding that kindness serves like a barometer, revealing a great deal about what a person is like and what moves and influences them. When I was thinking about this topic I looked up “kindness” on Google and mistakenly read “kindness synonyms” as “kindness syndrome.” The idea of a kindness syndrome intrigued me, so I looked it up and didn’t find anything about it. So I guess I get to make it up.
A syndrome is “a set of concurrent things (such as emotions or actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern” ( Merriam-Webster.com ). So kindness syndrome is a set of concurrent things that accompany acts of kindness and the people that do kind things. I not only find kind people (and churches and countries!) absolutely amazing, I find that they exhibit “concurrent things” that are amazing as well. Kind people (and churches and countries) have empathy, humility, patience, thoughtfulness, and they are brave. Confront the unkind, be kind in their midsts, or work to create kind spaces and, in an interesting turn, they might see you as being unkind when in fact you are just being brave and creating the sanctuary space where God’s way rules.
So I would ask you, in these days of Easter, to be kind. In fact, be radically kind, creatively kind, surprisingly kind. Kindness in days like these is an act of faithful, Christ-like rebellion against the powers of darkness and oppression. This is a life worthy of the days of Easter and it can all be done with a smile.