I read an anonymous quote on Facebook the other day that said, “Today you could be talking with someone who is trying their best not to fall apart. So whatever you do today, do it with kindness in your heart.” This is so true!
But sadly, we can often be very self-centered, seldom noticing or acknowledging the difficult circumstances in the lives of people outside of our circle. But what if we did?
Think about it-
When you receive poor service at a restaurant what do you usually do? Complain to the manager? Leave a smaller tip? Tell your friends?
What if… your waitress was having a hard time keeping up because she’s a single mom working two jobs and running on very little sleep because she was up all night with a sick child? Would that change anything? Would you offer a word of encouragement? Maybe tip a little extra?
Or when a car speeds up behind you and rides your bumper what do you usually do? Do you complain and slow down even more?
What if… the person in that car had just received a phone call that their teenage son had been in an accident and they were trying to get to the hospital? Would that change anything? Would you say a prayer for them and pull over to let them by?
Or what if…. they’re just having a bad day? When I have a bad day, I hope others understand that it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person or a bad employee or a bad mother. It simply means that I’m having a bad day. If I want people to understand that about me and give me grace- shouldn’t I do that for others?
Just as God sees the best in us, we need to look for the best in others. We need to understand that sometimes, people just have bad days and those bad days affect their attitudes and behaviors. But, what if we didn’t let it affect ours?
What if we just gave people the benefit of the doubt? What if we just treated them with kindness and compassion without even knowing their situation? What if we just assumed the best in people rather than the worst?
The Apostle Paul advised us as much in
Colossians 3:12-14 (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.“
So, the next time the waitress is slow or the cashier is hateful- do the unexpected- smile, offer them a word of encouragement, go out of your way to insert a little joy into their day. God will bless you for it!
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
John 13:35 (NIV)