Give Kindness a Chance

10609552_10152371455635267_7734501041205609994_nDon’t you wish we could erase last year and have a do-over? Aren’t you tired of all the contempt spewed, from both sides, regarding politics?

I’m not just referring to the politicians. I’m talking about my friends.

People who I like and respect, who used to keep their politics to themselves, now feel free to express their opinions with such hatred toward anyone who dares to think differently. What happens if you disagree? Have you lost the friendship? Half of America thinks one way and half thinks the other way. Are we really willing to cut ourselves off from relationship with 50% of our fellow Americans?

Isn’t their room anymore to agree to disagree? I mean, isn’t a democracy supposed to be made up of a variety of viewpoints? I used to live in an oppressive place where there was only one way to think, to speak, to do. Variety can add texture and depth and richness to who we are.

Besides, it doesn’t seem to me that anyone’s opinion ever changes if you just amp up the volume and the vitriol. People don’t tend to warm up to someone who yells at them, and calls them stupid, or racist, or immoral, or whatever. That kind of action causes a reaction of digging in your heels and becoming more firmly entrenched in your ideas than before.

Think about St. Paul’s words in Colossians 3:

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Make allowance for faults. Forgive. Love. What? This is radical.

The more I hear, or read on Facebook, the more I want to put my hands over my ears and scream, “Time out!” I’ve set a lifetime record for the number of videos of fuzzy kittens that I’ve watched lately.

For me to say this, well, my natural (not always popular) bent leans toward stirring things up. I’m the one who points out wrongs and gets them righted. Ask my family or my former teammates if you don’t believe me. My husband, the middle child, grew up smoothing things over. He got his work cut out for him when Peacemaker married Troublemaker. One of the first verses I memorized was Ephesians 4:32. I wish I could say I’ve always lived up to it.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

During my missionary days, I often bemoaned the fact that the people in my life were all the same. They looked the same. They had the same values. Now I have friends, dear friends, on both sides of the Great Divide. That makes me happy, but it also makes me feel torn in two.

So, my post today is to encourage all of us to try to find ways to be kind, especially to someone who is not of your ilk. Reach out in friendship and see where it goes. Reflect on these words from Philippians 2:

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

We could all use a little kindness. A little forgiveness.

For ideas, google Kindness Experiments or Random Acts of Kindness. There’s even a World Kindness Day, on November 13 each year (oddly, just after our election).

One idea that I’m trying to implement is to hand-write 52 thank-you notes this year. That’s only one per week.

Let’s give Kindness (or Peace or Love) a chance!

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