Galatians 5:22 says “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Being a person in the twenty-first century can, honestly, just be weird. We are so caught up in the negative, the drama of social media, and whatever is going on in our own heads, that we are surprised when someone is genuinely kind to us. We have “please” and “thank you” instilled in us from the time we can talk. Those phrases become so automatic when talking to our baristas, although we seem to have more real affection for our iced Americanos than we do the humans making them.
We have confused politeness with kindness. I am guilty of this time after time. I am so focused on what’s next that interactions with people become an inconvenience. People that are not directly benefiting me often meld together and I no longer see them as individuals. Of course, I am the same person that complains about not having any friends and that “people seem so cold and distant nowadays.” I am a hypocrite.
As I recognized this flaw in myself, I resolved to love people better. This takes more conscious effort than you’d think. I try to find at least one thing that I love about a person, even people I know I’ll never see again. I make an effort to say “have a blessed day” and be the one that catches them off guard, because of my well-intended kindness. These are all great tips, but it’s not enough. Saying “nice” things does not equate to genuine kindness. You see, Jesus loves people just because we’re people. He doesn’t love us because we have done anything worth loving. We haven’t done anything worth receiving His kindness. We simply exist and our Creator is content with loving us for that very reason.
We are meant to be “imitators of God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) That does not mean being “nice” just for the sake of looking “nice.” It means making each interaction count with every person. Remembering that you may be the only glimpse of Jesus that person sees, requires you to make it matter. We are ambassadors of Christ and we need to represent Him accurately. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Being kind to someone can actually change their path and show them a better picture of Jesus and less of ourselves.