FAITH and REFLECTION — One of the passages we considered in church last Sunday was, “Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind …” (Philippians 4:5). The verse reminded me of two things. First, how important it is to treat everyone kindly and second, how challenging this can sometimes be.
Years ago, a supervisor told me to wash a crane truck with a brand-new high-pressure washer. After about 20 minutes he came over in coveralls and said, “Go and have a smoke.” I told him, “I don’t smoke.” He replied, “I know.” He was telling me to get lost! I didn’t know if I was doing a poor job, or if he just wanted to play with the new toy. As I went back into the shop to find something else to do, I thought, “What a difficult character to get along with!”
Is it possible, in Philippians 4:5 fashion, to treat everyone kindly? We need first to understand that pride and the demanding of our personal rights will hinder the process of kindness, while humility and placing an appropriate value upon others will enhance it.
Words…what we say and how we say it is of extreme importance. It is typically not guns and bombs that begin wars, but words and this is true inter-relationally as well as it is internationally. The apostle James warned that, “… the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Think of a great forest, that is set on fire by a small spark.” (James 3:5) Proverbs presents the creative and pleasant alternative saying, “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the taste and good for your health.” (Proverbs 16:24)
Then there is forgiveness. I read in a counselling text recently that Christian counselling and counsellors are being held in higher esteem than ever before. The author said the primary reason for this is the Christian emphasis on forgiveness. Forgiveness is paramount. We have all been wronged, and we have all wronged someone else, so the giving and receiving of forgiveness is absolutely essential to the building and maintenance of positive interpersonal relationships. Colossians 3:13 says, “Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you.”
The golden rule – Jesus said, “… whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 7:12)
Jesus’ golden rule should be coupled with “giving the benefit of the doubt.” Treating others the way we wish to be treated, along with assuming that the person we are dealing with means no harm and is probably telling the truth can be very constructive.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain