Unfortunately, sometimes people with kind hearts are made to feel odd. Sometimes kind people are even made fun of in our society. Watching the news and much of what is popular entertainment, it seems you have to be aggressive, even mean at times, to get ahead. Is kindness for losers now?
I am troubled by the tone and even meanness of some of the banners and signs I see displayed in our community. As a group of us from our church went to visit a nursing home last week, we drove by a small house that had a bright, homemade “Be Kind” poster in the front window. I don’t know if it was a child, a family, or an older resident who made it, I just know if made me smile and encouraged me.
Many people think being nice is the same as being kind. I’m afraid sometimes I’ve been nice without really being kind. Dictionary.com defines “nice” as “pleasing; agreeable; delightful”, while “kind” is defined as “having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence.” Sometimes I’m nice just to please someone or avoid conflict. Kindness takes the next step to really wanting and doing what is best for the other person. Jesus still has some work to do on my heart, but I still think being nice is better than being mean!
I listened to a pastor whose hope was that his church would be known for its “kindness culture.” He didn’t need everyone to have the same political or theological beliefs to be a part of the church. He didn’t mind if there were disagreements, as long as people were kind to each other. Our little church out here in the country has issues like every church does. But one of the things I love about being here is we have some very kind people. They really do want to do what is best for the people in our church and for others as well. In a world that seems to be getting more aggressive and meaner, I pray we all might find, and help create, communities where we and others are treated with kindness.