Each and every day we have many opportunities to be kind to those around us: we can open a door, allow a vehicle to merge without expressing annoyance, anticipate and meet a need.
Do we do kind deeds for a positive response or do we do a kind deed for the sake of being kind? It is worth thinking about. I think of kindness more as something for others even though it is one of those things that is a little bit for me too. I need to be more kind. It is good for me to give, even if I am not thrilled in the moment. But, most of the time, I like humanity and people and I don’t mind being kind.
Someone I know recently opened a door at a convenience store for a stranger whose hands were full. The stranger did not respond with a “thank you”. It would have been polite but it didn’t happen.
Sometimes I don’t even notice when someone is being kind to me because I am in my own little world!
The person who opened the door was annoyed at the lack of expected appreciation and snidely commented, “Well, you are welcome!” This lead to a few tense and explicit exchanges in the store in front of who knows how many people.
Folks, before we do something “kind”, let’s consider our motivation and expectations. While recognition for a kindness extended might be nice it is far better to offer it with no strings attached. It might go unnoticed and unappreciated. That’s can be okay. In doesn’t mean the kindness didn’t happen: it simply wasn’t acknowledged. When we do a kind deed for someone we don’t know, we really have no idea what is going on in their lives. I find it easier to not have expectations.
But for those people I do know? I admit, sometimes I do have expectations when I do something kind. But how often do I not even recognize or respond to a kindness extended to me. I think it is more often than I realize. I am often wrapped up in my own concerns. And to think I know what is really going on in lives of others. Do I really? I have a lot of things going on in my heart and mind that I don’t share all the time so I am sure the people I know also have things they have going on in their family and friend circle, with their health, with their faith….
The point is that it is good to consider our motivation when giving. If it is a gift, there should be no strings attached. Extending grace through words or deeds is a huge kindness that might not even be recognized until much later (if ever) but is a beautiful gift to give anyway.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 NIV
One thought on “Hello Friend! Day Twenty-two”
It seems so strange that acts of courtesy are becoming uncommon today. I live in an area in Southern California that has high volumes of tourists at times. The local residents are treated as if we are garbage to be kicked around by some. I’ve heard the excuse frequently” I spend money up here.” What has spending money have to do with being polite? Do I tolerate people who behave like that? No. I have dealt with the public too long to be immune to tantrums from anyone except a two year old child. My method is a lesson I learned long ago, common among educators its called the “Drivel detector”. Cold stare followed by a firm, flat intoned voice. I never say anything rude or obnoxious but it gets the meaning across that the other person’s behavior is unacceptable. THEN I make sure to be as kind as I can possibly be to other people around me. Does this work, sometimes I know it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I have to be cautious around groups because of my hearing loss so I am very aware to keep people in my sight if possible, this can be perceived as rude its not, so I try to be polite as I can when I speak or I smile. Being kind can be perceived by some as being weak but I know its not true. My parents taught me growing up to treat other as you wish to be treated. Sadly it seems this lesson is being lost today. Maybe we, as Believers can spread this message? By actions as well as words… I wish I had a sure fired answer. The passage from the Bible. Be kind to strangers, you may be entertaining angels unawares. (From the hearing impaired community , if you speak to someone at a distance and don’t receive a response, the person you spoke to may not have heard you. Without my hearing assistance dog few people realize that I can’t hear. I’m not being rude!)