I had this moment with a cashier the other night. I had arrived at the till with my goods and she was just so distracted and not at all friendly. This is usually an irritation for me, bad service that is, but for some reason in this moment I felt the need to be a little extra friendly. I sympathised with her about having to work nightshift and she proceeded to tell me that she had just come back from a weeks leave after burying her child. I was totally gobsmacked that I had initially judged her for not being friendly enough.
We continued conversation and she proceeded to tell me that her child of just 10 years old had cancer and after years of the battle he did not make it. We spoke for a little while and I gave her some kind words of encouragement and said I would keep her in my prayers, which I did. Before I left, she smiled at me and said thank you.
I left feeling distraught. I couldn’t stop thinking about the moment. No amount of time off can be enough when you are grieving the loss of your young child, and she was clearly not ready to be back at work. I guess in her circumstances she really needed the income, so she had to be there even if she didn’t feel ready yet.
What I learnt is that when we choose kindness over other feelings of irritation, anger, judgement, it really goes a long way. We, as humans, are so quick to judge, but yet we don’t know that person’s story. We don’t know what morning they have had or what struggles they have going on in their lives. We make assumptions and give labels far too quickly.
This really got me thinking about other incidents in my life where I have been too quick to judge someone and even moments when I have been judged.
A little bit of kindness really goes a long way. When I looked back on the conversation I had with this cashier, I noticed that when I had walked in she was grumpy but when I left she smiled at me. Perhaps that little conversation had made her day.
When Jesus travelled teaching multitudes of people, He was moved by compassion for them, and He healed them. His heart is one of kindness, He chose kindness over other reactions. I guess He already knew the impact it would have. Kindness can change a day, turn sadness into a moment of happiness, plant a seed, heal someone or even change a life.
When we don’t choose it, we could be fuelling the fire of grief, depression, stress and ultimately be adding reason for someone losing all hope. It is so important that we rid ourselves of our selfish ways and consider others. When we meet people along our journey through life, whether it be a cashier, a homeless person, an acquaintance, whoever it may be, be present in the moment and choose kindness.
I like to think that when Jesus met someone along His journey who was perhaps a bit rude or off, He was lead by His heart in dealing with them and His kindness branched from a place of compassion and forgiveness.
Everyone is fighting a battle we don’t know about, everyone reacts differently to their battles. Some are able to be happy and keep up with the rest of life through it and others find that slightly more difficult.
In God’s word it says, we should not be so quick to judge, in the same way we judge so we will also be judged.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
God’s word also says that we are to love one another as God has loved us.
John 13: 34
“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
We are also advised in God’s word to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, forgiving one another and living in unity with each other.
Colossians 3:12-15 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Kindness is not only a biblical principle, the effects of showing kindness will bring hope into a broken world. If we want to show kindness we need to have an attitude of compassion and love for others, forgiving those who struggle to function during their battles and choose kindness as a way of dealing with everyone we come across. Jesus has showed us His loving kindness and we are called to continue that work here on earth because of the very fact that He was kind enough to lay down His life for us.
My encouragement to you is that as we go about our daily lives and meet people along the way, be mindful of the many stories there are around us that we know nothing about. Be sure to wear compassion, forgiveness, love and kindness everyday so you’re better equipped to handle the untold stories in people you meet.
I pray we can perfect this together! I’d love to hear from you.