Be an encouragement.
Engage with others.
Don’t give up.
Be kind out there.
This crazy, hurting, messed-up, unforgiving world needs more kindness. More encouragement. More compassion. More transparent engagement. More patience.
Paul thought so. He exhorted the Thessalonian believers to give kindness a try. I imagine that early in their eager-and-over-the-top excitement to live out their faith, they may have offended their family and friends and certainly others who didn’t understand or accept what their deal was for following Christ. And certainly, it is known that the Thessalonians were being heavily persecuted for their new faith. It wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine that the rejection and pain they experienced would lead to bitterness. Kindness? How could you possibly be kind to those who were victimizing you? How could you be patient with those who rejected you? How could you be an encouragement to those who attacked and belittled you? And how could you forgive those who had killed your friends and family and had tried to kill you?
Paul was quick to admonish them:
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else.
New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 5: 14 -15
Paul’s words were relevant two thousand years ago and his exhortation is just as relevant now.
We need more kindness and compassion.
We long for hope-filled, encouraging words.
We are desperate for understanding and forgiveness.
We ache for patience.
At least I know I do.
Yet, for some reason, kindness seems to be in short supply – especially in the frenzied world of social media.
Do our words need to be so hostile, so harsh, so cruel, so demeaning to others in a space that was initially intended to be a gathering of friends and family?
Paul asks us to try to be kind to each other and everyone else. That covers just about everyone on the planet – not just people like us – or who like us.
What would happen if – for today – we made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, caring, and forgiving in our sphere of influence to every person we encountered? At home. At work. On social media platforms. At the grocery store. On hold on the phone. Wherever. With whoever.
Could we do it?
Paul seems to think we can!
So, let’s try.
It’ll do both our hearts and the hearts of others some good. And isn’t that what we all need in this crazy, hurting, broken world?
Let’s be kind out there.
Image retrieved from 10 Ways to Celebrate World Kindness Day