Being Kind to Unkind People?

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, January 30, 2015

When I think of unkind people, one of the last things in the world I want to do is to be kind to them. Be helpful. Be friendly.

Wait just a minute . . . what would Jesus do? (Here are my thoughts from a year ago.)

BK be kind to unkind people 

 Being Kind to Unkind People?

When I think of unkind people, I think of sourpusses. People like Scrooge (before his reformation). Or people who do particularly nasty things. I see articles on the Internet under the Crime section of news sites I visit that astound, horrify, and sadden me.

In this blog post, I won’t concentrate on such extreme examples. Instead, I’ll mention a person in my acquaintance who was not kind with their tongue. I’ll also use a bit of C.S. Lewis’s excellent comments about the same fault from Book IV, Chapter 10 of Mere Christianity.

One person I’m thinking of qualified as a sourpuss. (I say “qualified” because she has passed on to her heavenly reward.) In our common ministry in the church, nothing was ever right. Nothing was ever good enough. She had to step in and readjust things, or redo arrangements, or rewrite the report. Moreover, her opinions of her fellow church members were often not charitable or kind. People didn’t exactly tiptoe around her. But sometimes, they did modify comments made in her hearing or just not ask her about things. Yet, she was accounted as a Christian, and a lifelong church member.

In Mere Christianity’s example of a nice, good-tempered atheist and a mean, nasty-mouthed Christian, C.S. Lewis asks the excellent question of what the mean Christian’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian, and what the nice atheist’s tongue might be like if he were to become one.

Both the atheist and the Christian, “as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. . . . You cannot expect God to look at [the atheist’s] placid temper and friendly disposition exactly as we do. Being merely temperamental, they will all disappear if [the atheist’s] digestion alters. . . . In the same way, God has allowed natural causes, working in a world spoiled by centuries of sin, to produce in [the Christian] the narrow mind and jangled nerves which account for most of her nastiness.”

My goodness. I have not read that particular passage for a number of years. Yet, it came back to me because of my prayer and meditation time this morning. I was not even concentrating on that specific topic today, yet God had this passage from Mere Christianity wash up on the shores of my mind. It all fits together. Really.

I needed to have my elbow jogged. God wanted to remind me about my attitude, and treating all people kindly. It doesn’t matter whether they are mean-spirited or nasty or unkind. I am to treat them in a kind and tenderhearted manner. And if I step back and wonder, “Do they really deserve kind treatment? After all, look what they’ve done/said/acted like!” all I need to do is to reflect on, “What would Jesus do?” How would He treat that horrible person? What would He say to the person who did that nasty action, or said that mean comment?

All I need to do is look in the mirror, and look at myself. God wants me to be kind to unkind people—they need it the most. (Unkind like me. Sometimes.)

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com

Potluck for Peace? Being of Service! (Feature Friday)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, September 12, 2014

Peace I leave with you Shalom

Potluck for Peace? Being of Service! (Feature Friday)

So, there I was. Sitting at a potluck table with a group of eight youth—four diverse Catholic high schoolers, and four Muslim youth. Two girls covered their heads, and wore hijab. The other girl didn’t, and the fourth was a boy, a high school freshman. I was very interested to hear what happened in the lively conversation. All eight were friendly, open, and wondered about each other. Asked each other questions, and found a lot of similarities in their school experience. Six of the eight had iPhones, and often glanced at them, referred to them as we all ate dinner together. Sure, there were differences between the youth! But at the same time, there were even more things that were similar!

I couldn’t help but think of the advice the Apostle Paul gave to the church at Rome as I attended the Children of Abraham Coalition event last Thursday night, September 11th: simple advice from Romans 14—don’t judge! Father Corey Brost, President from St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights, invited me to attend this Potluck for Peace, as a gesture of friendship. Many diverse people came together for peace, from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures, all over the world. And, I’m glad I attended!

As Fr. Corey told the assembled guests at the beginning of the dinner, September 11 is a fascinating day, in terms of world history. September 11, 1893 was the first day of the very first meeting of the World Parliament of Religions. Wonderful, to have September 11th be such a hopeful anniversary, an anniversary of peace and reconciliation.

Today, the Children of Abraham Coalition wants to highlight peace—shalom, salaam, peace. And, they also would like to educate others about the religious traditions that came from Abraham. These times of learning, sharing, and building relationship between individuals (and groups) is a practice by which many people are still challenged.

The separate speakers spoke of peace. Peace is the main thing, the only thing that we all need to lift up, and concentrate on. As was suggested last night at the dinner, different ages coming together do simple things like share a simple meal together, and share compassion. What a Godly thing to do! And—the world is a little bit different, a little bit more loving, because a group of peace-loving people gathered in the gymnasium in a high school in Arlington Heights, last night. Praise God!

Want more information about the Children of Abraham Coalition? Check them out on Twitter: @coacpeace

Or, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/174843822545174/

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being Kind to Unkind People?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BK be kind to unkind people

Being Kind to Unkind People?

When I think of unkind people, I think of sourpusses. People like Scrooge (before his reformation). Or people who do particularly nasty things. I see articles on the Internet under the Crime section of news sites I visit that astound, horrify, and sadden me.

In this blog post, I won’t concentrate on such extreme examples. Instead, I’ll mention a person in my acquaintance who was not kind with their tongue. I’ll also use a bit of C.S. Lewis’s excellent comments about the same fault from Book IV, Chapter 10 of Mere Christianity.

One person I’m thinking of qualified as a sourpuss. (I say “qualified” because she has passed on to her heavenly reward.) In our common ministry in the church, nothing was ever right. Nothing was ever good enough. She had to step in and readjust things, or redo arrangements, or rewrite the report. Moreover, her opinions of her fellow church members were often not charitable or kind. People didn’t exactly tiptoe around her. But sometimes, they did modify comments made in her hearing or just not ask her about things. Yet, she was accounted as a Christian, and a lifelong church member.

In Mere Christianity’s example of a nice, good-tempered atheist and a mean, nasty-mouthed Christian, C.S. Lewis asks the excellent question of what the mean Christian’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian, and what the nice atheist’s tongue might be like if he were to become one. Both the atheist and the Christian, “as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. . . . You cannot expect God to look at [the atheist’s] placid temper and friendly disposition exactly as we do. Being merely temperamental, they will all disappear if [the atheist’s] digestion alters. . . . In the same way, God has allowed natural causes, working in a world spoiled by centuries of sin, to produce in [the Christian] the narrow mind and jangled nerves which account for most of her nastiness.”

My goodness. I have not read that particular passage for a number of years. Yet, it came back to me because of my prayer and meditation time this morning. I was not even concentrating on that specific topic today, yet God had this passage from Mere Christianity wash up on the shores of my mind. It all fits together. Really.

I needed to have my elbow jogged. God wanted to remind me about my attitude, and treating all people kindly. It doesn’t matter whether they are mean-spirited or nasty or unkind. I am to treat them in a kind and tenderhearted manner. And if I step back and wonder, “Do they really deserve kind treatment? After all, look what they’ve done/said/acted like!” all I need to do is to reflect on, “What would Jesus do?” How would He treat that horrible person? What would He say to the person who did that nasty action, or said that mean comment?

All I need to do is look in the mirror, and look at myself. God wants me to be kind to unkind people—they need it the most. (Unkind like me. Sometimes.)

@chaplaineliza