My Broken Road to Grace: Post Twenty Seven (Simply Be Kind)

When was he last time you had your feelings hurt? I am sure you can bring to mind a time when something really offended you, a time when you got your "nose bumped" as my daddy used to say. As human beings sadly we often are well equipped at doing that to one another, sometimes not even realizing what we have done.

It can be as simple a a sideways glance at something that is said or being to busy to stop and take the time to listen to another point of view. At other times it can be really deliberate and something in our nature will call out to us to lash out at someone who just really gets on our last nerve.

In either case it hurts to be on the receiving end of such activity to be sure but it can also be painful to have been the one dispensing the slight once we stop and think about it and our conscience kicks in. I heard it said once that as Christians, conscience is just another word for the Holy Spirit. We all know that God sent it to comfort us in times of sadness and sorrow but did you also know that it also leads and guides us daily in the things that we should do. Yes, there is that still small voice in the back of our minds saying "should I really have said that, was it necessary?" The truth is that the answer to that question is usually no and when we stop to review the circumstances in which we might have said or done something to hurt someone else, we could usually have just as easily been quiet or even said something of an encouraging nature, thereby completely reversing the circumstance and making what ended up as a bad situation one that actually might have done some good.

It is no secret that as human beings we naturally seek the approval and acceptance of our peers, some more than others. Children at a young age want to bring the picture they drew home and have it put in a place of prominence on the refrigerator, the teenage girl likes to be told that her prom dress is really pretty and that she looks good by her date and the quarterback likes to see his name and stats in the paper on Monday after Fridays game. Yes we all like approval and not only do we like it, we seek it.

I have written before that we should always be careful in dealing with our fellow man and try to control the loss of our temper as we have no idea what the person who stands across from us may be otherwise going through, abusive parents or spouse, financial devastation, even drug addiction, the truth is we really never know. The kind word, the smile, even the exhibition of just a little more than the usual amount of patience might be the only value affirming action in that persons life all day, maybe even all week.

Just yesterday as I sat in a drive through line waiting to pick up 5 chicken strips, that is it, that is all I wanted, it became brutally obvious to me that it was developing into little more of an ordeal than I had planned. First, there were several cars in line, and the line was moving slowly. It appeared that it was taking a really inordinate amount of time to prepare and fill each order, make the change and move the customer along. Never being one with an additional measure of patience needless to say I was "fit to be tied" when I finally arrived at the window and already had my snide remark mentally prepared, something along the lines of "You guys should plan a little better for the dinner hour rush, perhaps a new manager is in order, they call it fast food for a reason." As I pulled to the window and reached for my wallet, looking up I was surprised to see that the girl manning it had down syndrome. She had the sweetest smile, the happiest look on hear face and obviously the disposition to go along with both. Apologizing for the delay, she smiled and asked for my order. Man did I feel like a first class jerk. Here was this girl, dealing with overwhelming adversity and yet still giving it her very best and I am fuming over an extra minute or two to get my chicken strips so that I can hurry home for a normal evening, no rush!

It really made me think and the take away was this, as Christians we should be accepting, not just once in a while but everyday, when we can and where we can. We should be tolerant, We should be open minded and we should be courteous and in doing so we will be following the example set by Christ as we are led by the Holy Spirit and isn't that what we are supposed to do anyway?

John 6:37 says: "However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them." The word never is definitive. Attempt today to eliminate a callous and abrupt attitude and replace it with one of kindness and patience. It will make a difference in the life of those around you and perhaps an even bigger difference in yours.

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