It's Cool To Be Kind — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

It’s Cool To Be Kind — Morning Devotions

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. EPHESIANS 4:32 (ESV)

By Chris WittsMonday 31 Jul 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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I happened to see an interesting sign at a public school one day, which made me think of the simple message directed to the pupils of the school. It said, “Be kind. It’s cool at this school.” Obviously the principal and staff valued the quality of kindness and wanted this message to be part of the school life in that little community. And the Children’s author, Sophie Beer has written several books on kindness, which are worth having a look at.

It was 2008, and a desperately unhappy young man climbed over the railing of Waterloo Bridge in London. His name was Johnny Benjamin, and you can see more about this amazing story in the documentary ‘The Stranger on the Bridge.’ You see, Johnny was aged 20. He had a mental illness and life had crumbled all around him and he could see no way out. But as he stood on the edge of the bridge, another young man came up and talked to him. He said, “Listen, I’ve also got schizophrenia, but I feel better now and so can you and that conversation went on and actually saved his life.” A complete stranger showed Johnny Benjamin a great deal of kindness and support, and Johnny climbed back over the railing onto the road and got help for his problem. But he later tracked down the stranger, whose name is Neil. Today they are the best of friends, spreading the message of hope to others who suffer from mental illness.

I thought it was a remarkable story of how a stranger’s conversation literally saved a life

That’s the power of a kind and relevant word. Now everyone talks about being kind to one another, being kind to your neighbour, being kind to animals. But did you know very few people can define kindness specifically, let alone practise it. An elderly lady that I heard of enjoyed going to the local post office because the employees there were so friendly to her.

And one day she was waiting in a long line to buy some stamps just prior to Christmas, and the man in the line behind us said, “Hey, there’s no need for you to wait in this line. You can buy your stamps at the machine in the lobby” and the woman said, “I know that, but the machine won’t smile or ask about my arthritis.” Sure, the machine could dispense stamps, but it wouldn’t dispense kindness like those employees who made a difference in that woman’s life.

Kindness is not just a matter of helping an old lady across the street or rescuing a cat from a tree. It’s not just good deeds that you put into your schedule as part of practising kindness. This kind of kindness really doesn’t get in your way. It doesn’t require you to change your schedule. It’s more than that. So what do you think kindness means? Philip Keller says that “kindness involves finding ways to brighten and cheer the lives of others.” Stephen Windwood writes, “kindness includes generosity and benevolence,” and the Webster Dictionary defines kindness as of a “sympathetic, forbearing, gentle, pleasant nature.” Having had a look at the Hebrew and Greek meanings of the word, I think we could say it like this. “Kindness is caring enough about others that we treat them with gentleness, graciousness and generosity.”

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding going around about kindness. We tend to think of people who practise kindness as softies – people that we could take advantage of. And perhaps that’s why we don’t practise kindness more often. Now, the Bible powerfully illustrates kindness in the New Testament. Do you remember the story of the Good Samaritan? You can read that for yourself in Luke 10:30-37 and the guy who was beaten up, lying in the ditch was a Jew and the Good Samaritan. The guy who came to help. Well, he was a Samaritan, and these two groups didn’t like each other. They just didn’t associate. Now the guy who came along, the Samaritan, had a schedule to keep. So we’ve got to assume he had things to do and people to see. He didn’t have a lot of time for distractions, and yet he stopped and helped this poor man.

It’s an amazing story. Kindness is a serious business. It is serious because of how God showed kindness to us and what it cost him. We didn’t deserve his kindness. God provided it out of the goodness of his heart, and the Bible sums it up well in Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate, graciously forgive one another, just as God has forgiven you.

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Let’s Pray

Yes, dear Lord, it’s cool to be kind. It’s not just cool. It’s what you demand and require of us to show kindness to one another, even when we don’t feel like it, or even if they don’t deserve it. Your love and your compassion and your kindness is everlasting. We want to take that to heart, help us to be good students of kindness, because I ask it in Jesus name, Amen.