You know how little kids sometimes do things without thinking about the consequences? Well, this is my story of such a time in my life……I was in first grade; maturing and yet so far from maturity. I wasn’t the funniest kid, or the most popular, and by the end of this story you’ll realize I wasn’t even one of the smartest.
So, it was just another first grade afternoon, standing in line in the hallway before we walked to wherever we were going. One of the other First Grade teachers was instructing her class and for whatever reason, I began mimicking her. She had this way about her, which I found really annoying, so I started portraying her to a friend of mine. Unfortunately, because of my ethnicity (I’m Italian) we tend to be loud about everything even when we think we aren’t, and I drew her attention. I knew she had quietly walked up behind me when my friend quickly lost interest in my parody, had a brief look of terror in his eyes, and turned around abruptly. I turned slowly, and there she was with a finger pointed at me announcing my judgment of detention. Yeah, that was bad, but it got worse because that day just happened to be teacher/parent conference day. (Told you I didn’t think this through!)
Round 2 – Longest drive home ever – Mom decided to come after school, have the conference, and bring me home. That was one day I could’ve really enjoyed a long bus ride home. The night ended with very little dinner eaten, my mouth was washed out with soap (I know – shocking – it’s called discipline, and it did me a lot of good!) and put me in bed early, missing my favorite TV show, Buck Rogers. Seriously…..I was crushed!
What does all this illustrate? People can be incredibly unkind. Who knows how my disrespect affected that teacher; setting off insecurities she may have had as an individual or teacher. I know, you want to bring some perspective into this and tell me that we all do stupid stuff when we’re kids……move on Doug, it’s in the past, yada, yada, yada. I get all that, but this is fact: when we choose to yield to our fallen nature, we never think about consequences in the moment because we’re too busy becoming the center of attention, making ourselves appear better than another, or finding value in devaluing another person – and it’s all done at their expense.
A lack of kindness is a clear indicator of a selfish nature.
The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 gives us some direction on what our new nature should look like, especially involving other people. Here’s some thoughts:
Some people’s lives are a mess and that mess is so obvious that they are probably known by it. It has actually formed the opinions of others about them. Yet, their mess isn’t material for your next gossip session, nor should we label people by their problems. Jesus never instructed us to analyze the hurts of others, instead, we’re to see what good we can do. The Good Samaritan saw the man in the ditch, wasn’t repulsed by him in that situation, and went to where he was to do what he was able to do. It even cost him something to help the man, but he was willing to involve himself – his time and material possessions. You can either build people up or further tear them down – it’s your choice, so choose godly!
That story also reminds me how I’m not so different from anyone else. The Good Samaritan could have been the one in the ditch. He could have come through that way at the wrong time and been the one victimized instead. What would he hope others would do if he was in the ditch? We rarely think this way because we feel we’ve done what was necessary to be where we are: “I worked hard, I got an education, I married a good person, I’m employable, or I made the right choices.” This thinking automatically judges the homeless man, the drug addict, the single mom, or the cashier at the grocery store working for minimum wage who didn’t do what was necessary to be or have better. Really? How unkind, or better yet, what a foolish thought! We shouldn’t overlook how each of us could be in the same place as any person we’ve been guilty of detesting. Kindness creates in us a level of compassion and thankfulness. Compassion on those who have not, or those who hurt a lot, and thankfulness to God for His grace on our lives.
God calls on His people to be kind, and if you’re going to achieve it, you’ll have to meditate on the kindness of God. Why would God send His Son to die for us when we were still sinners; at a time when we hated God and were His enemies? He did it because He is a kind God who’s love gives opportunity to those who are rejecting Him, in hopes they will repent and choose Him. He is my Father, and I hope today I can be a little more like Him, and show some kindness to those who don’t even deserve it.