We’ve all come across unkind people… some of us more than others.
And, if we’re being honest, we can all remember times when we were less than kind ourselves. Most of us look back on that with regret, wishing we had said or done things differently.
But, what about the person who’s decided that it’s justifiable to be habitually unkind to a specific person or specific people? It’s a slippery slope when someone decides that someone else is not worthy of kindness, and sets out to make their life as miserable as possible. The longer they persist in unkind words and behaviors, the more they tend to justify what they’re doing.
No remorse and a deadened conscience. They don’t consider stopping because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.
The news is increasingly filled with stories of people who have exacted unkindness towards others… often in the extreme. People so hate-filled that they decided the target(s) of their hatred deserved death, and that it was ultimately worth dying for themselves.
Hatred has never made anyone see things more clearly. Or changed situations for the better. Or changed lives for the better.
Not even once.
Sometimes you have no choice but to be in close proximity to someone who’s intent on extending unkindness or hatred towards you. It’s damaging, demoralizing and demeaning. And, the longer you have to deal with it, the more negatively it affects you.
Trust me, I know.
Hear me in this… it’s no kindness to let people continue unchecked in their unkindness or hate.
Sometimes the greatness kindness we can extend is to intervene, if it’s within our power to do so. Whether we are able to intervene directly or indirectly, our kindness will be kindness toward the one(s) being targeted, and kindness toward the one doing the targeting… even if they can’t see it as being such in the moment.
The one caveat is that, while unkind or hateful people need to be dealt with firmly, they don’t need unkindness and hatred lobbied back at them.
Don’t confuse kindness with weakness. Those who refuse to retaliate or to respond in kind demonstrate strength, not weakness. So, be that person… not just an extension of the behavior you didn’t find acceptable in the first place.
It never hurts to start with prayer.
Prayer gives us the proper perspective – God’s perspective – and guides us in the right things to do and say.
Pray for yourself, pray for the hurting, pray for those who do the hurting, pray for change, and pray for healing.
It’s hard to hate someone that you pray for. In fact, try praying every day for a month for someone you hate… or simply don’t like… and see what happens.
Even if they don’t change, you will.
The moral of the story?
Act kind, not in kind…