Have you ever asked anyone the ways in which they see you sin? The pastor at my church made a really bold challenge the other day. He asked us to find five people in five different areas of our lives and ask them to point out our sins.

Let me tell you, having someone look you in the eye and tell you where you need to improve your behavior is hard. Really hard. It’s so hard, in fact, that I’ve only had the guts to ask one person: my husband. Luckily, my husband loves me and wants to continue to be married, so he was very delicate in his answer.

He said I needed to be more patient. He said I have a tendency to want things done now. I want the beds made, the laundry sorted and world peace, and I want it now.

I agree with him. Patience is a virtue, but it isn’t currently my virtue. I’m working on that.

Although I’m afraid to ask anyone else what sin exists in my life, I did ask myself. After much soul searching, I realized that I’m a bit of a control freak.

I want things done my way because I believe my way will make life easier for everyone.

For example, I believe my children must be fully dried off, head to toe, before they leave the bathroom after bath time. I’m worried wet little feet scampering down the hall will lead to slippery floors, which will lead to falls and then tears and then a horrible night overall.

Maybe I’m right. But maybe I just like to know that I am in control of something. It comes down to being very selfish. Oh, now there’s a nasty sin. I’m working on that.

I’m telling you these things, because when I read the following letter sent in by Bethany, I was picturing how my impatience and need for control would have overtaken the situation she describes.

“My name is Bethany, and I have a quick story to share.

I was shopping at Sunmart on 25th Street South in Fargo a few weeks ago, and I had all three of my young children with me. They are ages 4, 2½, and 1, and needless to say, sometimes it’s awfully hard to find any room in the grocery cart for actual groceries.

I just had a small shopping list, and it was nearing bedtime so I was doing my best to get through the store without any major meltdowns. I also had a handful of coupons, and the kids were doing pretty well being patient with me.

We made it to the checkout and got everything rung up, and then this very kind lady behind me pulls out her credit card, hands it to the cashier and says, ‘Can I pay for her groceries?’

“I didn’t know what to do. I have a hard time accepting gifts without wanting to give in return, but I knew I should just say thank you and let this woman be a blessing to me. I did indeed tell her thanks many times, but if she is reading this now, thanks once more and I am still praying for you.”

It sounds to me like that woman in the checkout lane wanted to be a blessing to Bethany because she saw the grace and love that Bethany was exuding during what could have been a major tantrum-fest.

What a beautiful example both women set on the essence of being kind.

I hope you will continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.


Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday in SheSays.