We all get passionate about something. When that passion aims to evoke change in others, it’s often called finding our soapbox. For some it’s politics, social justice, or animal rights. Others feel passionate enough about clean eating, breastfeeding, essential oils, or hybrid cars to tell others about the benefits or pitfalls.
If I had to declare my soapbox it would be so very simple:
There it is. Short and sweet. Be kind.
Am I kind 100% of the time? Oh, goodness, no. While I believe with my whole heart that being kind is simple, it is not easy. Kindness is simple because it can be done with no money, little time, and often no planning. A smile to a stranger, holding the door for a dad pushing a stroller, picking up trash in your favorite park.
It is not always easy, however. Being kind means stepping outside of our human nature to put ourselves first. Nothing easy about that. I’m aggravated over a hectic morning, so I don’t even look my Starbuck’s barista in the eye as she takes my money. I don’t want to get wetter than I already am, so I neglect to notice the dad with the stroller crossing the street in the rain as I enter the bookstore. I know that retrieving the styrofoam cup in the park would mean stepping in the freshly mowed grass while wearing my brand new sneakers — so I’ll let someone else worry about it. I…I…I…me…me…me.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 118.24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I believe kindness is birthed when we focus on being so full of gratitude simply for the moment we are in that we can’t help but rejoice. A thankful heart lives in a kind person.
It is not a new sentiment that if everyone was more kind the world would be such a more peaceful place. But I do believe it. When I see friends taking such vehement stands against issues like gay marriage, abortion, the latest political debate, etc. I cringe. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on these issues, I do. But I also know one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I choose to use it as a touchstone: I am commanded by Christ in the Bible to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength…and to love my neighbor as myself (Luke 10.27). Nowhere am I instructed to judge or condemn my neighbor. Love. I would much rather God ask me when I get to heaven why I loved too much rather than not enough. (Hint: You can’t love too much.)
So….when you see me on my soapbox, my message will be short. It will be simple. It will be grounded in the love and grace I’m shown every day as a constantly forgiven messed up human. BE KIND.