The Importance of Kindness
Recently I have been meditating on the concept of kindness. I had had a few interactions with friends and acquaintances where I felt that I had been the target of unnecessary and unintentional unkindness. Sometimes we do not stop to reflect or consider the effects of our tone, our choice of words, or our deliberate actions. We figure we cannot please everyone and decide to live our lives with the goal of getting ourselves through the day. However, we tend to forget our responsibility to those around us, even in the minor details such as kindness.
I did not think that kindness was something I particularly strove for over other traits. Instead, I prayed for patience, a thirst for justice, work for my hands and feet to do, strength to get through the day. But let us reflect– how helpful are we really to the hungry person we give food to if we give that food with a curse on our mouth and a scowl on our face? The depth of our kindness informs the rest of the work that we do, both kindness to ourselves and to others. If there is not warmth in our spirit, everything we do comes across cold. If there is no brightness to our actions, everything we do comes across as dark. If there is no energy to our interactions, everything we do comes across as dead.
I do not think that we must be Pollyannas, and we all have bad days of course. But I imagine that our temperaments and our kindness stick with people more than how much we fed them, clothed them, or sheltered them. Kindness is the basis of community–where people come together to share life.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)