BRADY COLUMN: For sure, a great need

Published 9:30 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

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One of the greatest needs of our time and all time is “kindness.” Imagine how different everything would be if kindness prevailed. I started thinking about this when I saw a meaningful definition and explanation of kindness. But initially I was reminded of this when I remembered three signs I saw on a trip to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina a few years back.

The first sign was on a painted plate where we (family) were staying. It read, “Be Kind or Leave.” Nothing confusing about that!

The second sign was seen on a walkway around the lake. The sign said, “One Way Bridge, Please Be Courteous.” Not difficult to understand!  

The third sign was seen in a candy store. It stated, “Be kind to Your Children, They Pick Your Nursing Home.” Humorous but not quite as entertaining as the others. 

As you know, all those signs point to the issue of being kind and courteous toward others-a message desperately needed to be heard and practiced both in the church and society. In church, as congregations face major implications concerning social issues. Sometimes discernment leads to determining directions of a congregation’s future and may result in a vote. The important thing to remember is that this can lead to winners and losers and may result in frustration and  hard feelings. However, strong convictions should never crush kindness. As the scripture states, “Love is kind,” and it is, and is intended to be.

In society! I was in a meeting the other day with a group of ministers. One well respected retired minister said that in his lifetime he had never seen things so worrisome as he is seeing today. I’m sure that minister is speaking for a number of us. 

The polarization, separation and disrespect of others is obvious-in the political discord and double-speak, the disrespect of law officers and the law itself, the out-of-control violence, the victimization of criminals, the drug traffic and cartels, the disappearance of moral standards and the list goes on and on. Kindness is the antidote.

What got me into the subject was this liberating sentence by Samuel Johnson, “Kindness is in our power, fondness is not.” In other words, kindness is not felt but willed. Kindness is not passion or affection or friendship, but an attitude of unshakable and unwavered goodwill to others, whether we like them or not.

Just a few additional thoughts about kindness.

  (1) Kindness is inclusive.

  (2) Kindness is a choice we make.

  (3) Kindness takes a lot of time.

  (4) Kindness is of Divine origin.

So why are we to be kind? First and foremost, we are to be kind because of God’s special kindness to us. As Paul put it, “For by grace (God’s kindness) you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Then, secondly, we are to be kind because our kindness has something to do with the salvation and well-being of others and society. Love is kind!”