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In a world where you can be anything… be kind

CBS- the initials not of a TV station, but of a brilliant young man… a Yale educated AllAmerican lacrosse player who went on to be a successful day trader on Wall Street. The demands of his day job never kept him from answering a text or making a call. His friends knew that he cared, that he would always put the need of another first. When an infection threatened to take his life, it was my privilege to spend a moment every day at his bedside in the hospital. Even though he was in pain, every time I entered his room he would ask, “How are you today?” That question was not just a polite greeting, it was a genuine inquiry, followed by a pause in which he expected me to share my day. A year ago, CBS lost his battle, and the world lost an extraordinary young man who defined the essence of kindness. Parents should never have to bury their own child- such grief knows no bounds- but CBS’ parents found comfort in emulating their son through acts of kindness. His parents created cards to leave after each caring act that bore the simple inscription:
This random act of kindness is done in loving memory of CBS-
a husband, brother, son, cousin, nephew, and loving friend to all who knew him.
Pass on Kindness!
I have a supply in my purse that remind me to pass it on…

Kindness defined the life of Jesus. He embodied the Hebrew word chesed which means loving kindness. We see his kindness when he gathers little ones on his knee even as the disciples try to dismiss them as unimportant. We see his kindness when he pauses to speak to a woman who had been sick for twelve years. In that moment, her years of isolation and suffering end with a healing touch of love. We see his kindness when he grieves with Mary at the tomb of her brother Lazarus. We see his kindness when he eats lunch with a despised tax collector even as the religious leaders mock his actions. We see his kindness when he touches a leper to heal him. We see his kindness when he forgives the woman caught in adultery, calling her to a new life. We see his kindness when he cares for his mother and the youngest disciple even as he dies on a cross. Kindness defined his actions and governed his speech. Even when he challenged the establishment that was rife with greed and hypocrisy, his motives were moved and shaped by a loving kindness that yearned for all people to know God’s good plan and purpose. I cannot count the times that I have known the loving kindness of Jesus in my life. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) He calls us to pass it on!

Primary season 2024 seems to be the denial of kindness and human decency. Crowds cheer candidates, celebrating rude and crude behavior that would have my mother sending them to their room for a time-out. Whatever happened to manners, respect, honesty, and simple human kindness? On both sides of the aisle, we have learned to accept the awful in the hopes of a better life for ourselves and our families. Kindness becomes the casualty of our accommodation to a broken world. Yet for Christians kindness is not a suggestion on a card or a story in a book, it is a command from the God we claim to honor. 
What does the LORD require of you?
Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
We hear that call echo across the pages of God’s Word.
Love is patient. Love is kind(I Corinthians 13:4)
Be kind to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22)
As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Do not repay evil for evil… do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with kindness. (Romans 12:17, 21)
Our leaders would have us believe that kindness is a luxury we cannot afford, but Jesus teaches with his life that kindness is our only hope. Imagine a world in which Christians lived into God’s call to be kind.

The other day a man cut in front of me at the grocery store check-out. His thoughtless act cost me just a few minutes of my time, but it soured my mood for hours. The next day, a gentleman held the door for me. I found myself holding doors for people for the rest of the day. The nasty of this world is contagious, but so is kindness. Kindness can break through isolation and bring light into the dark corners of our human existence. Kindness can change us, heal us, even as we give. Kindness can have a ripple effect, like a stone dropped into a pond, each circle stretching out in ever widening care. The first pebble is dropped by Jesus himself. Can we be the ripples that bring his kindness to the world God so loves? Call a loved one. Send a note. Hold a door. Say thank you. Give a compliment. Pay it forward. Smile.

With you remembering to be kind today,
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