A car crashes into a crowd of people standing up against white nationalist protesters.
What’s your first reaction?
Do you lash out in a flurry of hateful words over social media, adding more negativity to the situation?
Do you hide under a blanket on your couch, binge-watching Netflix so you don’t have to risk seeing more bad news?
Do you go about your daily business, but gripe every chance you get over the state of this nation and pontificate about who may or may not be responsible?
Or do you look for someone to love? Someone who may not have anything to do with what happened in Virginia, but who may feel a little better when they turn on the TV tonight because they will remember you, and know there are good people out there, too?
We have a choice.
It seems to me, humans are hard wired with two powerful character traits:
- We want to be in control. Take my kids for example. When they were little, I’d asked them, “Do you want to leave the park in two minutes or four minutes?” I was telling them (because I like to be in control) that we would be leaving very soon, but by allowing them to choose the exact time, they maintained control too and therefore didn’t feel the need to throw a tantrum when the four minutes were up.
- We are motivated by things that will ultimately benefit us. Full disclosure: I find myself buying raffle tickets sometimes for a cause that I care nothing about, just because I’m hoping to win a new boat.
Do you get my point?
When it comes to bad things in our world, those two human traits can be valuable assets.
For me, I know that when I am kind, I am in control. Even if it’s just my little spot in the world, I’m still in control of it — or at least my actions in it. When I am angry, I am reacting and letting external things control me. Which is better, maintaining the upper hand with kindness or flying off the handle? I’ll take kindness, thank you.
So what’s the benefit to being kind when it seems others are getting ahead by spewing hatred? Well, that’s where we rely on what we know instead of what we feel. We know that “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” (Proverbs 11:17 NIV)
We know it because God tells us. That’s this week’s memory verse.
I’m hoping if we commit to remembering that kind people benefit themselves then maybe we’ll choose kindness over hateful words on social media or hiding on the couch with Netflix.
Despite what you see on TV, let me assure you, there is a kindness movement happening, and it’s growing. People are realizing the best thing they can do to combat this mess is to use kindness as an offensive weapon. Not random. I’m talking about intentional kindness. That’s what will change this world. And it begins with remembering we have a choice.