Tuesday, August 22, 2017

the kindness of strangers ...

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” 
Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)

Girlie and I watch Speechless from time to time. Okay, well, it is just me. But, I love the characters. They are just adorable – witty humor in the face of obstacles. This weekend I was doing a little binge watching some of the last season episodes while the boys went to see a movie at the theater. Theaters are just not Girlie's thing, especially loud films, and being in her wheelchair the whole time is not her favorite.  

I found this episode about the family’s experience in a grocery store, all the people they encounter, and the interactions with both the strangers and their own family (all 3 children are teenagers – Lord help them). 

Kindness was the theme, what kindness looks like and does not look like both in the family and with strangers. Kindness was not extended to the mom by her middle son. Kindness was not extended to JJ (son in a wheelchair) by a stranger. Kindness was not extended to the father and daughter by the employees.

Each group responded differently. The mom’s response was to put on an elaborate hoax to “trick” her middle son in to kindness. The dad and daughter tried to take what the employee would not sell them. And JJ, let’s just say he took revenge on the guy for treating him like an object to be moved out of the way, by becoming an object in the guy's way through the entire store.

In the end, JJ’s aide for school/home (who happened to work as the store manager on the weekends for extra money and could see all the interactions on in store cameras), showed them some amount of truth in each of the situations and assisted in some kindness between them all. 

At the end the mom pleads with the middle son to “treat her like a stranger” because he shows strangers more kindness than his family.

Sometimes strangers are actually much kinder because they don’t know my personality, my flaws, my fears, my failures, my family background. The stranger who offers a smile on a hard day, the stranger who offers to let me go ahead in the grocery line, the stranger who compliments my child, the stranger who offers a gesture of grace, going out of the way to show kindness.

The truth is we all need to extend grace and give kindness, regardless of whether we are extended kindness or not. Kindness should be my FIRST response to unkindness.

  My first response should be to extend grace, not assume the worst.

The visible extend grace to the invisible.

The invisible extend grace to the visible.

The son extends grace to the mom.

The mom extends grace to the son.

The clergy extend grace to the lay people.

The lay people extend grace to the clergy.

The neighbor extends grace to the neighbor.

Those who hear extend grace to those who are deaf.

The deaf extend grace to those who hear.

The limited extend grace to those who think they are “unlimited.”

Those who think they are unlimited extend grace to the limited.

The stranger extends grace to the stranger.

Proverbs 3:3 says “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” 

We are called to kindness because we are chosen of God (Colossians 3:12).

We are to grow in kindness in order to become useful and fruitful in Christ (1 Peter 1:7-8).

The kindness of Christ leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Please pray with me:

Father, thank you for your kindness you have extended to me. Thank you for your good gifts you bestow on your children. Lord I ask you to teach me kindness as my first response, just as You have shown me. Please work through me in your kindness extended especially in the face of unkindness.

Amen.

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