“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” –Aesop (620 B.C. – 560 B.C.) from “The Lion and the Mouse.”
You go to the grocery store, the kids are whining because they are hungry, you wanted to be in and out quickly, but things are not going your way. You reach the checkout line, put your items on the conveyor belt and prepare to pay. You make eye contact with the clerk and are met with a look of disdain that says, “Geez, why don’t you make your kids obey?” You feel like you’re being judged and quickly pay for your items so you can get out of the store.
You are in line at a stop light. There is a smaller car ahead of you. The car is an older model and when the light turns green it takes a moment for the driver to find first gear. The vehicle behind you honks because the driver of the older car took more than three seconds to drive forward.
We have all been there: stressed, hurried, worried, and we are met with irritation, attitude, frustration, and a sense that the other person is annoyed at our very presence. It can be disheartening and even cause our stress levels to increase.
Kindness is one of the simplest acts to give to another person and yet, somehow we decide whether a person is “worthy” of our kindness before we give it. This isn’t how we are to act if we claim Christ.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us of nine parts of the Fruit of the Spirit. I have written before about how as we grow in our Faith, this fruit will mature too. It is no coincidence that Kindness comes after Patience.
Patience and Kindness are a kind of “living out loud” proof that we are giving up our selfish ways. When we realize it isn’t all about us, we can give to others more freely. It’s a crucial step in our Faith Journey.
What would have happened if the clerk at the grocery store had encouraged the parent with a smile, some act of kindness that said, “I understand” or “It will be ok.” it could have completely changed the situation for the clerk, the parent, and the kids.
What if the impatient driver had chosen to just take a breath and let it out, instead of honking? That’s the amount of time it would take for the older car to get started and continue to drive. It wouldn’t have been hard.
So be kind. That one small act, even if it cannot be returned, could be a priceless treasure to the person who receives it.