Kindness by Any Other Name (2)

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    That colleague transformed right before our eyes. He became hard-working, focused, positive in his demeanor and outlook. He outdid himself, stretched his abilities. And became one of our boss’s most loyal officers. And he never said a negative thing about anyone thereafter.

    That’s what kindness can do. It can transform people to be better versions of themselves. It may not work all the time because there are bad people who abuse kindness. But it doesn’t hurt to try kindness first.

    Jesus even tersely shooed away those who were stoning a “big sinner.” Which reminds me — Why is it that most of us don’t get Jesus’ message? Yet many of us call ourselves “followers of Christ.” No wonder Chuck Swindoll, a well-renowned and respected author and pastor, said that “the Christian army is the only army that shoots its own wounded.”

    Busyness often kills kindness. When we’re too busy, we don’t have time to be kind, to consider people’s feelings before we do (or not do) something. Many situations are mishandled because people don’t care enough to think things through. Hence we massacre people in the process. That’s why a friend told me, “I don’t trust the process when it’s handled by busy, performance-driven people. They’ll sacrifice you on their altars of success.”

    Kindness is being a first responder to a person who is sick, ostracized, is in financial distress, a person who has fallen out of grace, or into the cracks. When one of our friends was having a tough season in her career, we (a small group of friends) immediately went to her place (with her permission) to cheer her up. We brought her favorite food, got her some stuff to read and watch, bought her some clothes and things we knew she’d love. We did this, not afraid to be associated with her. In many work places, if you fall out of grace, you’re treated like a pariah. No one will touch you with a ten-foot pole.

    One time, I was dumbfounded to hear a colleague defend someone to our boss — someone who, I knew, was repeatedly badmouthing her and sabotaging her work. Yet there she was, telling our boss that this person wasn’t as difficult as others said he was. That all he needed was someone to mentor him properly. That person who my friend “saved” ultimately became a top executive, and to this day he gives credit to my friend who chose to hold him up, rather than trash him to seek revenge. That’s kindness.

    We always have a choice — to be kind or not. Selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, insensitivity, insecurity, a lack of compassion, immaturity, busyness — all these things prevent us from being kind. When we choose to be unkind, we lose. People see our unkindness. They might not say a thing, but they will remember.

    But most importantly, when we’re unkind, we displease God. There will be consequences to our unkindness. It might not happen right away, but we will always reap what we sow.

    When we choose to be kind, God will always repay us, whether or not our kindness is appreciated. So choose to be kind!