Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Be Ye Kind

One of the first Bible verses I learned as a tiny child was "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another." I was not always kind as a child, and I'll admit that I've not always been kind as an adult. Unkindness usually rears its ugly head as a result of my bone-deep impatience, something I fight against all the time. (Yes, I'm impatient with my impatience.) Still, I'm not comfortable with unkindness in myself or in others. Just as I'm uncomfortable with conflict (it's a middle child thing, I've been told), unkindness is a big boat-rocker for me, and I do like life to run as smoothly as possible.

Unkindness seems to be rampant these days. Basic civility, which in the past helped check rude, mean, insensitive behavior, has flown out the window. There are no barriers to saying whatever one's thinking or acting on individual foibles and prejudices. As important as individual rights of speech and action are (within the law), those rights do nothing to contribute to a more civil society if the individual loses compassion and the ability to see oneself as part of a bigger community.

Maybe kindness seems more elusive now than in the past simply because we are bombarded with human wretchedness 24/7. Yet, it seems too easy to blame the internet and media outlets, though both certainly spread cynicism, anger, and the urge to get revenge on whoever/whatever rubs us the wrong way. I think it runs deeper than that, but I'm at a loss as to an answer.

Nothing I've said is news. and, honestly, I can't do anything about anyone but myself. While I'm certainly free to say whatever I want or act on whatever skewed feelings I may have, I don't have to do either. I can make an effort to check words and actions I may later regret. It's not only about avoiding unkindness; it's about being actively kind.

So, as we head into the season of thankfulness and celebration, I plan to be more intentionally kind. I will do my best to avoid petty arguments over politics, lifestyles, or sports teams and look for ways to a pay a compliment, relieve a burden, or create a pleasant surprise. I will try to remember the words I learned as a little child, "Be ye kind." It's worth a try.


Tamar said...

I love this post. Thank you.

MaryB said...

You're welcome, Tamar. Let's see if I can live up to it. :-)