Not too long ago I was at the grocery store and I dealt with a cashier who wasn’t very friendly. While this was just one brief encounter, the situation left me feeling discouraged. Mainly because this is something we are seeing more and more of in our world. Overall, people are becoming more rude and less kind. This was heavy on my heart as I pushed my shopping cart out to my vehicle.
But along that path while I was in the parking lot, God put something on my heart. He helped me to see that no matter how other people act I can still act with kindness.
We have a choice. And ultimately we are only responsible for my own actions.
As Christians we are called to spread the love and light of Jesus to those around us. And one way we can do that is by being kind. Even when others are not kind to us. We have a choice. I admit it’s not always easy, but it is possible. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and we can rely on the strength of the Lord to help us in difficult situations.
One of my favorite Bible verses that I remind myself of often is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)
With the Lord’s help we can give a gentle answer, even when someone else gives us a harsh word. And perhaps when others see our actions, this will nudge their hearts to be kind as well.
However, I do want to mention one important thing to remember. Sometimes we are tempted to correct those around us, but we have to tread lightly in these situations. First we must remember that we are not perfect and likely have fallen short in this area too. So we are not in a place to judge those around us. Although I admit it can be so easy to do!
The Bible does tell us that as Christians, we should help restore our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in sin. (See Galatians 6:1, 1 Timothy 5:20, and James 5:19-20.)
And we are called to encourage and edify others.
- Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29 NIV
But we do have to be careful when it comes to correcting someone’s behavior. Not everyone will accept our guidance. Especially if it is not someone we know. There was one occasion when I was entering the grocery store and I saw a vehicle stop to speak to a lady walking on the sidewalk. I assume something went down earlier that I was not privy to, because the person in the vehicle told the other lady that she was rude…. And I will just say that you don’t want to know what the lady’s reply was.
I don’t know either of those people, and I don’t know if either would call themselves a Christian. But I can tell you that for those of us who are Christians – we have the Holy Spirit to help us in these sticky situations. If we seek His wisdom, He will tell us when we should speak up and what we should say.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5 NIV
Sadly in our society we will see a lot of cold-hearted attitudes. It can be all too easy to fall into the same behaviors, if we are not careful. But we don’t have to. Day by day, we can cling tightly to the Lord. When we abide in Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit will naturally flow in our lives.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. – John 15:4-5 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
Ultimately, something I am reminding of myself lately, especially as I encounter unkind people in this world, is that we have a choice on how we will act. Even when others are rude to us, we can choose to be kind. We can draw our strength from the Lord as we press forward, and allow the love of Jesus to shine through.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas