Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
Could someone please tell me when we had to start having special events in schools and communities to teach kids how to be kind?
I can’t say that I was “taught” kindness at home. I was never “taught” kindness. My parents, teachers, pastors, never sat me down and said, “This is how we are kind to others.” Kindness was expected. It was in the air I breathed. It was modeled by (most) everyone around me. Being “taught” to be kind would be like saying I had to be “taught” how to love. The only time my siblings and I were “taught” a lesson on kindness was when we were punished for being not-kind. And believe me, those lessons sank in.
On a newscast this week there was a report about a school holding a “Kindness Fair.” I’m not exactly sure what all the booths and activities were, but apparently it was to teach the children the importance of kindness.
That strikes me as an indictment of our culture where kindness is no longer a given.
In Luke 6:17-49, Jesus offers what we call ‘The Sermon on the Plain.’ The longer version is found in Matthew 5-7 where it is more famously known as ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’ In each case, we find some of Jesus’ core lessons such as love your enemies, give to everyone in need, and even the famous, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” You’ve heard that one, right? Here are some others.
Do not judge.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Take the log out of your own eye before removing the speck from another.
And of course, be merciful, which in some translations reads, “Be kind, as your Father is kind.”
Here’s a thought. Let’s try that and see what happens. Let’s try following what Jesus said, starting with being kind to others. Let’s be kind to our family members. Let’s be kind to our neighbors. Let’s be kind to strangers, even the ones who are LGBTQIA+, or of a different race, or different religion, or (gasp) political orientation.
And do you know what else we can do? Quit hanging out with people who are not kind. Quit tuning in to media that only knows how to criticize. Quit voting for politicians who cannot say nice things about others. Quit tolerating meanness.
Who knows. Maybe if as a society we tried something as radical and crazy as actually living by “The Golden Rule,” maybe schools would no longer have to hold kindness fairs and they can get back to doing what they were meant to do.