It seems we don’t have to look far in today’s world to find heartbreaking examples of hatred, greed, prejudice and pain. Why is this? How has our world become so self-centered that we can not look beyond ourselves and see how our actions might affect someone else? How have we become so caught up in making ends meet, getting from one place to another, and reaching the end of our daily chore list that we’ve forgotten the value of a kind word, of holding a door for a stranger, of wiping the tears of a crying child?
He needs our hands to share that love with others around us. When we show kindness we show His love and help heal a hurting heart so that it can recognize the hand of the Savior in their life. It’s the most beautiful gift we can give. It’s often the most easily put aside.
We each carry so many heartaches and burdens that it seems an additional burden rather than a blessing to reach out to someone else. Yet, if we can take that initial step, His promise is that our own burdens will be made lighter. When we make room for compassion and kindness in our lives and hearts we are making room for more of the Savior’s love.
Opportunities for kindness are all around us everyday. Often, they’re closer to home than we think. I have a nasty habit I learned from my mother. I call it my stranger voice. You see, it never mattered how much I was being scolded and yelled at, when the telephone rang my mother’s tone changed instantly. She was nice, she was polite. She was a totally different creature than the one who had just been grounding me for not cleaning my room. Yes, I am guilty of the same thing. No matter my true thoughts and feelings, no matter how bad the day is going, I can put on my stranger voice and face at a moments notice. My husband thinks I have a split personality. It’s something I need to work on. Really, who most needs my kindness and love but my family who I value over anything else. In reality, who is also most likely to see sides of us we’d rather not let others, who matter less to us, know about. I don’t think that is the way the Lord intended for us to be. Often times, kindness needs to begin at home.
Unkind words and deeds seem to have a way of snowballing. It can start as something very small, but once that spirit of contention is introduced it seems to take on a life of its own. I think the reverse is true as well. Today, just for today, make a goal to spread a little more kindness and see where it rolls.
To get us started on a renewed goal of kindness to everyone around us I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes I ran across while researching this blog.
“One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. . . He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults [and] is extended to all—to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.” President Ezra Taft Benson
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“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19.
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“There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others. Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative. Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others. Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us.” Gordon B. Hinckley
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“Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes… The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.
Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.
Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.
We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Joseph B. Wirthlin
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27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy loke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and blend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:27-38