My Prayer for the New Year: Kindness
Do you ever stop to reflect on the kindness that has been shown to you? I was sitting down and considering this word "Kindness," reflecting on the really memorable times that people were truly kind to me.
There was one time when I had just gotten gas in my car and I needed to get across the street to go to a grocery store. The problem is that the street I was wanting to get across is REALLY busy. It's super busy and where I happened to be was about 20 feet away from the intersection. Honestly, it's nearly impossible to get through. I drove up to this street to figure out if I should go across it, or go around the block and come from a different direction. As I was deciding, this guy notices that I'm needing to get out. So he backs up his car so that I would have room to get through. ON TOP OF THAT he actually directed me across the street safely! I was blown away because, in my town, that NEVER HAPPENS!
Another time my family and I went out to eat. It was a particularly frustrating day and I was already frazzled. My son usually acts like a twirling octopus that never pays attention to the world around him. So he's got legs and arms moving about while he stares at the ceiling just twirling from side to side. It's so frustrating because he usually does this when we go to the store or are waiting in line someplace. Anyway, the point is, he was not helpful. So I've got a hand on him in an attempt to protect the world around us from his flailing arms, and I have a hand on our tray of food. This tray is stacked with cups, a couple of meals, and all the extras we need to have a good meal (knives for cutting up kid food, etc). In the midst of all this craziness, I drop the tray of food. It lands in such a way that absolutely nothing is salvageable. I stand up, completely ready to walk out of the restaurant without having eaten a meal, and the cashier hurries to fix us a second batch of our order. She wasn't judgemental. She didn't tell me that I was out of luck since I had already paid for the meal. She just looked at me with this knowing mom smile and quietly fixed our plate. I doubt that she remembers this moment, but as a new mom with a young child, this meant the world to me.
It is so easy to show simple kindness to the world around us. Kindness is so simple that it can be done without a single word being uttered.
I think about the simplicity with which Jesus entered this world. He came as a baby. He didn't come as a judgemental king but as a humble baby. When he performed his first miracle, it was a miracle that was done almost in secret, only the servants knew what was going on. Even when he was dying on the cross he didn't do it loudly. He could have started listing off everyone's sins and explained how we were the reason he was there. He could have called down angels to get him off the cross. He could have performed miracles and basically slap people upside the head with who He truly was/is. But he doesn't. Instead, He lived and died in such a way that we all get to make the decision about what to do if Jesus is who he said he is.
He came with Kindness. He lived with Kindness. He died with kindness. He came humbly. He lived humbly. He died humbly.
Kindness and humility go hand in hand. The man in the car could have chosen selfishness and not have shown me kindness. The woman preparing my food could have chosen a variety of responses that could have really been hurtful, but instead, she showed me kindness.
Jesus showed us true kindness when he came and lived and died in our world. What are we doing to show the world that same kindness?
Jesus, I thank you for your incredible kindness towards me. I thank you for the example you have shown me. I ask for many opportunities to show simple kindness to the world around me. Help me to recognize these opportunities and to show kindness with the right attitude and the right heart. In Your name, amen.