The elderly man in front of my daughters and me at the grocery store appeared a bit panicked. “I forgot the papaya my wife asked me to buy,” he said.
“Would you like to go get it and I’ll hold your place?” I asked.
“I’ll just pay for this stuff and go back through the line.”
I took a glance at the long line behind us. If the man wanted to get home before his perishables perished, his plan wouldn’t work.
“Why don’t you go get the papaya? We’ll wait for you.” I hoped I hadn’t alienated anyone by being the spokeswoman for all grocery shoppers in Line 4. No one seemed perturbed.
“Ok,” he said, and dashed off toward the produce department.
Moments later he returned and profusely thanked all of us in Line 4.
Such a small act of kindness meant so much.
Kindness. The Lord tells us to treat others as we’d like to be treated. So, how can we show kindness to others the way the Lord commands us? And why is it important?
1.We don’t know what another person is going through or what they may be facing at this very moment. We never know if a stranger just lost a loved one, is struggling to pay their bills, lost their job, is struggling with chronic illness, and the list goes on… An ounce of kindness can make their day brighter.
2. Kindness doesn’t have to be big. Each morning, our family prays for someone to bless that day. God’s answers have come in all sizes…sometimes we find ourselves in lengthy service projects, other times, it’s a seemingly miniscule “assignment.” Either way, those kindnesses matter to the recipient and, more importantly, to God.
3. We are examples for our children. Who better than parents to show their children by example what it means to treat someone with kindness? Even when we don’t realize it, they are watching us – and mirroring our actions.
4. What if your kindness isn’t returned? One of my daughters’ friends (I’ll call her Misty) smiled at a man in the library the other day. A simple act of kindness, right? The man asked her what she wanted. Misty told him she was just trying to be polite and friendly. He sneered at her and said, “Well, I wish you wouldn’t.” Although caught off guard by the man’s comment, Misty responded in kindness.
Tough when people deflect our kindness, but, like Misty did, we must keep on treating them the way Jesus would.
What are some ways you show kindness to others?