When Kindness Said Goodbye

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WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL – 3/26/2013

When did kindness say goodbye in our world? When did perhaps what too many of us take for granted step aside and make way for everything but? This morning I surprised a friend with an action that should not have surprised her at all, but perhaps this is what it took to prompt me to realize that somewhere along the way kindness said goodbye in our society.
I didn’t think much of my decision to roll down my window and apologize to a woman with a walker who had to walk a little bit farther because of where I had parked my car. I had parked in front of a hotel, run inside to grab a cup of tea to go, and blocked the area where her friend could have dropped her off right by the front door. I had been wrong for the way I had parked, and I told her so. I asked her forgiveness. She was not upset at all, I said God bless you and rolled my window back up, and off I drove with my friend.
That is when my friend remarked about my kindness in taking the time to apologize, to consider another’s well-being, to notice the woman didn’t have the easiest time walking, to realize and acknowledge I had been remiss in my action. But why was my friend surprised at my kindness? Because somewhere along the way, somewhere through the years, kindness said goodbye. I almost titled today’s devotional, “please, thank you, and sorry,” simply because these are words I seem to hear less and less. 
Perhaps they have walked off with kindness. I do hear them from time to time, and I am blessed to witness kindness at times, but overall I believe kindness, along with please, thank you, and sorry have been sideswiped, blindsided, pushed away, shoved aside, moved to the back burner, run over, smashed to pieces, overlooked, neglected, and so very much more in a world that is becoming increasingly dark. 
Interestingly, I learned about please, thank you, and sorry long before I became a follower of Jesus Christ. Have I always practiced all of this, or even any of it? Absolutely not. I have fallen short through the years. At times, I was so self centered I might have forgotten any or all of them altogether. But somehow, they have always come back to me. Or, I have always come back to them. They were branded in my heart long ago, in a day and age when values and morals were more the norm than not it seemed. Fortunately, when I became a follower of Jesus, I already had a foundation in place. 
These were not foreign words, or concepts to me. I simply needed to realize that my journey following Jesus is not about me; it is about Him, and it is about loving and serving the Lord and His creation. Kindness, hand in hand with please, thank you, and sorry go hand in hand with all of this. In fact, they go hand in hand with the Lord. Perfect companions for a life learning to walk with the Lord. 
So what happened to them? Why are they less and less sought after, and why are they increasingly forgotten? I could guess, I could surmise, I could theorize. Or I could simply say this. I have a responsibility to practice them.
I am reminded of not too long ago when someone I know and I planned to eat at a certain restaurant. I made reservations, but we chose to eat elsewhere. I had lost my telephone and asked to borrow the other person’s phone to call the restaurant to cancel the reservation. The person didn’t seem to think I needed to bother, that people don’t show up for their reservations regularly. I was not given the opportunity to borrow the phone, nor to call. And I felt bad. 
When the Lord lives inside a heart, as He lives inside mine, it is not merely about values and morals anymore. It is about the conviction of the Holy Spirit to do what is right, what is kind, what is loving, what involves thinking about others, and what more than anything else is about loving and honoring my Lord.
When I was a little girl, my mother told me in a grocery store one day that I should bend down and pick up something an older person had dropped. She taught me I needed to respect my elders. My mother was not a  Christian, but she taught me a value – the value of thinking of another, of loving another, of serving another, of  putting aside myself to consider someone else. 
Here I am now, decades later, not bending down in a grocery store anymore merely because my mother taught me values. Today, I bend down as best I can, as best I can remember, by the love of God, for the love of God, for the love of others, learning to humble myself, to reach down, to lower myself, that I might express love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and kindness – all derived from my faith in Christ – to bless another.
Where do you stand with kindness? Has kindness said goodbye? Is it time to welcome kindness back? Is it time to meet kindness for the very first time? How about please, thank you, and sorry? Are these words common in your vocabulary, or does it take an effort to use them? Why not seek the Lord’s face and ask Him where you stand with all this. 
As I like to confess regularly to the Lord and to others, I fall short all the time. And I mean ALL the time. Yet the Lord knows I always come running back to Him. And when I see an area where I fall short, I desire that He teach me, grow me, stretch me, equip me, and help me to say hello to the life He desires me to live. Not goodbye, as so many have said to kindness, but hello. 
Maybe kindness, and so much more, have said goodbye in our world at large. But the Bible says I am a citizen of heaven. And I walk with the Lord. I am a follower of Jesus. The Lord lives inside me. And I am quite certain the Lord would not desire that any of us leave kindness in the dust. 
Instead, by His grace, and for His glory, He calls us to love one another. 
Doesn’t He? 
How about you? 

1Pe 1:22  “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently…”

Php_2:3  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
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