Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31, 32 NIV

I heard a lovely story recently.

A little boy had been eagerly looking forward to the delivery of his family’s new refrigerator. Why? Because his parents told him it would arrive in a big cardboard box—a box he could convert into a wonderful fort where he could play with his friends.

But, to his immense disappointment, when the refrigerator came, there was no box. It had been removed at the store.

The delivery man, however, drove all the way back to the store, got the box and brought it back.

Why? “Because every kid should have a fort if he wants one.”

Simple human kindness. We have far too little of it these days. The air is so full of what Paul calls “bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander…and malice” that I hesitate to put my head out the door.

But we’re not the only people who’ve ever lived in a dangerous, hostile world. The believers Paul wrote to faced serious persecution and even death. Paul, himself, was to pay the ultimate price for his faith.

Yet he commanded his readers to be “kind, tenderhearted and forgiving.” Why? Because anger never overcomes anger. The only one who wins that warfare is the Devil. In Romans, Paul tells us to “overcome evil with good.” (12:21)

We are people of faith. We say we believe in a God of love and justice. After we pray for His peace and blessing, let’s act on those prayers. Like the delivery man, let’s seek to do acts of kindness daily, no matter how insignificant.

  • Wave somebody into traffic ahead of you
  • Open a door for someone
  • Listen with all your attention to a person who’s trying to talk to you…even if you don’t think they’re important
  • Forgive others’ mistakes…and your own
  • Apologize
  • Refuse to take offense
  • Bring a co-worker a cup of coffee unasked…especially if you’re not getting along
  • Smile and be friendly to that overworked clerk at the store or the post office

Just after I wrote this, I had to call someone about an internet issue. Time to practice what I’d been preaching. (Isn’t that just like God?) I took a deep breath, extended patience instead of my usual irritation. I hope the person I spoke to had a better day; I know I did.

As the song (“Dream Small”) goes, “These little moments change the world.”

FATHER GOD: Show me where and how I can be kind today. Amen.

First published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 15 2018.