I Can Be Kind – I Can Forgive

I Can Be Kind – I Can Forgive
                                                                                                          cant
The January 6th, 2015 edition of the Nassau Guardian records a moving story on forgiveness. Family members of a police sergeant, “who was believed to have been shot and killed last year in what police believe was an armed robbery said that they cannot understand or make sense of his death, but have already forgiven those responsible.” Said the family, “We want the persons who are responsible . . . to know that we have forgiven them and pray that God would touch their hearts and minds.” Admittedly, this is not a normal reaction following the brutal slaying of a loved one. It must be a manifestation of Christ’s spirit and attitude. And, it is this very disposition that is needed to heal and reduce deaths in our communities, towns, islands and country. It would seem that resolving conflicts is bypassed by the playing out of anger. As such, I appeal for forgiveness and kindness instead of retaliation.
 
What Is Forgiveness? 
Forgiveness is releasing the debt, anger or hurt as opposed to retaliating in an attempt to inflict wound, hurt, get even, or cause death for that matter. Says Martin Luther King Jr., “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” Similarly, kindness is a favorable disposition or treatment towards another or oneself in ways undeserving or unexpected. Quite frankly, society would seem to promote vengeance. Now, while this article is not intended to interfere with justice in the manner practiced by law enforcement agencies, Christ teaches an exceptional form of human forgiveness and kindness. Observe a scriptural passage set within the context of Christ’s sermon on the mountain: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43, 44). Truth be told, it is much easier to do just the opposite of “love,” “bless,” “do good,” and “pray for” one’s enemy. One might prefer to hate, “bless” as in curse, do harm instead of good, and pray for one’s demise as opposed for one’s benefit. I am sure you and I can identify with this, but Christ calls for a higher and nobler form of behavior surpassing the norms of society.
 
Kindness Is not for the Weak of Heart
Mahatma Gandhi observes, “The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Furthermore, Corrie ten Boom explains, “You never so touch the ocean of God's love as when you forgive and love your enemies.” It takes more than courage to be kind! It takes Christ Himself through the medium of the Holy Spirit living within individuals to model and display the qualities of “love,” “blessing,” “doing good,” and “praying” for people who mean you no good. 
Imagine if these teachings were fully embraced, we would see a significant reduction in conflicts that lead to violence and death. Imagine, if we practiced more of Christ-living, we would be more caring and thoughtful. As the world focuses on love or romance, in the month of February, it is also a good time to show Christian love. Beyond the roses, chocolate, and candle light diners will be a demonstration of genuine care and consideration for spouse, friend and children.
 
Kindness Proclamation
From time to time we read in the newspapers proclamations of one kind or another. However, it would be so refreshing to proclaim a kindness day, week, month, or better a kindness year? Can you imagine how that would change you and me if embraced? Can you imagine a lessening of road rage? Can you imagine no more verbal, physical or emotional abuse? Utopia! Maybe I am dreaming too much or expecting too much. However, how will we put a dent into the day-to-day evils, hurts and injustices? Yes, we must uphold the law, but could we not do so in kindness and with respect for others? So, today look for someone whom you resent and do something good for that person, even if you start by just praying for his/her wellbeing. Now be certain to call him or her by name. Should we apply kindness or more kindness in our relationships, our country would be a better place in which to live, do businesses and model Christ-like behavior. John Bunyan argues, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back.” Let kindness begin today with you and me!