Kindness: Try A Little Kindness (5 of 9) by James Merritt

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Kindness: Try A Little Kindness (5 of 9)
Series: Fruit Of The Spirit - Home Sweet Home
James Merritt
Galatians 5:22

INTRODUCTION

1. AFTER CONFEDERATE GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE RETIRED FROM THE MILITARY, HE WAS NAMED PRESIDENT OF WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY IN LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA, ORIGINALLY NAMED WASHINGTON ACADEMY BECAUSE OF A GIFT FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON. THE NAME WAS CHANGED IN 1871 IN HONOR OF GENERAL LEE.

2. WHILE LEE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY, A NEW STUDENT CAME INTO HIS OFFICE AND ASKED FOR A COPY OF THE SCHOOL'S RULES AND REGULATIONS. LEE LOOKED AT HIM AND SAID, ''SON, WE DON'T HAVE ANY RULES AND REGULATIONS IN PRINT.'' THE YOUNG MAN SAID, ''YOU MEAN THIS SCHOOL HAS NO RULES?'' LEE REPLIED, ''YES, WE HAVE ONLY ONE.'' HE SAID, ''WHAT IS IT?'' LEE REPLIED, ''OUR ONLY RULE IS KINDNESS.''1

3. WE ARE LIVING IN A SOCIETY IN WHICH KINDNESS IS BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY RARE COMMODITY. NOT LONG AGO, THE FRONT PAGE COVER STORY OF U. S. A. TODAY BEGAN WITH THIS OBSERVATION:

A SURLY DRIVER CUTS INTO YOUR LANE. YOUR TEEN-AGER BRINGS HOME A CD WITH LEWD HOSTILE LYRICS. A POLITICAL CANDIDATE IN A TV AD MORPHS INTO A CONVICTED MURDERER. A STAR BASEBALL PLAYER SPITS AT AN UMPIRE. A RADIO TALK-SHOW JOCKEY INSULTS THE PRESIDENT WHILE HE'S SITTING RIGHT THERE. . .IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE THE GROWING RUDENESS, EVEN HARSHNESS, OF AMERICAN LIFE.2

4. WE HAVE BECOME A SOCIETY IN WHICH THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS HAS CURDLED. AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS-89% IN A U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT POLL-THINK INCIVILITY IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM. MORE THAN THREE IN FOUR SAID IT HAS GOTTEN WORSE IN THE LAST TEN YEARS.3 5. I WENT INTO MY COMPUTER, GOT ON THE INTERNET, AND TYPED IN THE WORD KINDNESS AND HIT ''SEARCH.'' I FOUND, AMONG MANY THINGS, THAT THERE IS NOW A NOT-FOR- PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT YOU CAN JOIN CALLED ''THE KINDNESS SOCIETY.'' THIS IS THEIR PURPOSE: ''WE ARE STRIVING TO SPREAD KINDNESS BY FOLLOWING A SIMPLE RULE: DO NOT THINK, SPEAK, OR ACT UNKINDLY TOWARD OTHERS.''

6. WELL, EVERYBODY CAN RELATE WITH KINDNESS AND EVERYONE CAN RESPOND TO KINDNESS. MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID, ''KINDNESS IS A LANGUAGE WHICH THE DEAF CAN HEAR AND THE BLIND CAN READ.''4

7. JUST WHAT IS KINDNESS? THE WORD ITSELF LITERALLY MEANS THAT WHICH IS ''GOOD,'' ''HELPFUL,'' ''SUITABLE.'' IT LITERALLY MEANS ''TO BE GRACIOUS TO OTHERS.'' AS I RAN OVER IN MY MIND WHAT KINDNESS REALLY WAS, I CAME UP WITH THIS DEFINITION: KINDNESS IS TREATING OTHERS THE WAY GOD HAS TREATED YOU. THE BIBLE SAYS IN EPH. 4:32, ''AND BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, JUST AS GOD IN CHRIST ALSO FORGAVE YOU.''

8. NOW AS I THOUGHT ABOUT KINDNESS, I THOUGHT ABOUT AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF JESUS WHICH NOT ONLY SHOWS US KINDNESS, BUT TEACHES US VALUABLE LESSONS ON THE KINDNESS THAT GOD EXPECTS FROM US. IT IS ONE OF THE MOST TENDER, SWEET, AND YET VERY FAMILIAR INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF JESUS, AND IT DEALT WITH HIS RELATIONSHIP TO LITTLE CHILDREN. WE SEE IN TH ...


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