On Easter Sunday, I led Sunday School music time for the children in my church congregation. As we sang songs about Jesus Christ, I asked the children, “What can we do to show Jesus Christ we love Him?” One sweet 4-year-old girl, quoting the most recent Cinderella movie, answered, “Have courage and be kind.”
Recent world events have broken my heart and diminished my courage. When I hear of terrorist attacks like the recent attack in Belgium, my heart fills with fear. I fear what could happen on the trains I take in and out of Washington D.C. each day; I fear how increasingly more dangerous the world will be for my children; I fear for the safety of my husband as he travels frequently for work. However, I know that God doesn’t want me to fear. He wants me to have faith, which leads to courage.
I need to have faith that no matter what happens in this life, God has a plan. His plan enables me to return and live with Him again and with my family forever. Central to His plan is the ability for people to use their agency here on this earth. This means that bad things can happen as people use their agency for evil and wrong purposes.
God is a loving God, and He will be with us when bad things happen to us and around us. Believing that God will help me and my family through good times and bad times helps me to have courage. Believing that there is life after death and that families are forever helps me to have courage. Having courage and trusting God shows God we love Him.
For many years, I have felt that the number one attribute I want to teach my children is kindness. Kindness is more than simply being nice. Kindness is loving others with our whole hearts and acting accordingly. Kindness can be hard. It is hard to love others who degrade us or who are rude to us. Yet, God wants us to be kind to all people, regardless of how they treat us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said:
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain,” (Matthew 5:40-41).
When we realize that all we have is from God – our coat, our cloke, the ability to walk, etc. – we will be inclined to give more and be kind. I don’t think this scripture is God’s way of encouraging us to allow people to take advantage of us. I think He’s encouraging us to realize all we have is from Him.
Mean-spiritedness is pervasive in our society. Don’t believe me? Turn on any news channel covering the U.S. presidential election. This election cycle seems to promote the opposite of kindness. However, I have learned that kindness always wins. What makes a true winner isn’t the outcome of an election or an argument, but a true winner is someone who has the inner peace that only kindness can bring.
At the times in my life when I have focused on developing greater kindness, I have felt transformed on the inside. I have felt a peace and a love that I can’t fully describe. God wants us to be kind. He wants us to feel like true winners and have the penetrating peace only pure kindness can bring.
Cinderella’s mother and the sweet 4-year-old girl at church on Sunday were right. We need to “have courage and be kind.” That is exactly what we can do to show Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, and Healer, that we love Him.
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