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“Respect – http://www.dictionary.com/browse/respect?s=t.” Definition taken from
” Considerate – thinking about the rights and feelings of other people : showing kindness toward other people.” Definition taken from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/considerate
“Kindness – the quality or state of being gentle and considerate.” Definition taken from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kindness
“Kind – having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others : wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others.” Definition taken from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kind
I’ve been thinking for a long time about respect. I’ve noticed from many personal experiences that the act of respect is missing in a lot of people. When a word seems to lose its meaning in my mind, I always run to the dictionary to see if I’ve missed something in my understanding of it. It doesn’t matter how simple the word may seem. I always think that maybe it’s me, I am not getting it versus the other person.
I read the meaning for respect & said, “No that’s not what I was looking for.” Then I found in the meaning for the word respect, the word considered popped up. I reworked considered and looked up consideration and also said, “Naw, that’s not it either.” Then I paused and said, well let me look up considerate. Then the gem of the word kindness was in the meaning of considerate. I went a little further, and starting from respect, what I really was looking for was the word kind.
Not trying to toot my own horn but I vividly remember how I felt as a child helping a classmate after a math lesson. I was never a math whiz. For the first couple of years in grade school I did alright in math. I never learned my 11th and 12th times tables until years later. One afternoon, I had finished all my math problems and noticed a classmate struggling to complete her exercises. Then all of a sudden she began to cry about not being able to do her work. I immediately got up and went to her to try to console her. I bent over next to her and began explaining how I went about answering each math question. I remember how it felt to help her out. She stopped crying as a result of my coming to her assistance. I’ve never told anyone nor have I written about that experience until now. It was one act of kindness I’ll never forget. Though a small act, the sense of accomplishment I felt was overwhelming. I was being kind.
As a child that feeling I got out of helping someone in math class has always stayed with me. It was not about the rush I got from calming someone down or even helping someone “get it” in terms of math. What was awakened in me was my ability to bring some sort of unburdening in someone. To help someone be at peace or be in a state of empowerment that they could do something they otherwise felt helpless at. It was connecting with someone in a pure selfless way. What was I to gain? I didn’t feel that I was in anyway better than she. I was not great at math. That day left an impression on me. I always wanted to be that way.
It was the reaching out to another person and helping them with what they needed at the moment that would lead them to a state of peace and contentment that felt great. You can never do that with a gun. Inciting fear through explosives or pulling a noose around someone’s neck will never bring anyone happiness. Tearing someone down with lying words to hurt another person’s character will never do. Striking at someone and causing harm such as in boxing or fighting only brings bruises that not only hurt but can damage body parts for life. Violence of every sort imaginable will come to an end. Kindness will replace all the cruelty we see and experience in our world.
I am beginning to understand Jesus’ words, “Those who live by the sword, will die by the sword.” Humans have been in a state of war for thousands of years. Never before in recorded history has any culture, people and country possess so much armaments that the entire earth could be destroyed nineteen times over. War has the capacity now to bring death to all sides.
The simple model of war is just two people fighting. Let’s start out with two people in battle. The person that wins lives on while the other person dies. The survivor feels a sense of power to take on another person. That is until someone stronger comes and takes their life as retribution for the life lost on their side.
Jesus said to “Turn the other cheek.” This literally means not to fight back. On the other hand, we must not run into danger. We must try our best to avoid situations that may be life threatening. A good example is that Jesus said, (paraphrasing) if you are not well received in a household, then wipe your feet and don’t return there.
To be kind is to sustain life. To be kind is to bring happiness. To be kind is to be at peace. To be kind is to be a productive person. To be kind is to communicate more effectively. To be kind is to bring mutual understanding. To be kind is to feel safe. To be kind is to bring laughter. To be kind is to heal what was broken. To be kind is strength in action. To be kind is to discover the impossible. To be kind is to be genuine. To be kind helps you to manage your environment. To be kind allows you to be a friend. To be kind is to forgive. To be kind builds families. To be kind ends pollution. To be kind allows communities to thrive. To be kind leads you to truth. To be kind leads you to a life that will not end. To be kind helps you to understand why God gives rain and sunshine on the good and evil. To be kind is to hope for balance and justice in our world. To be kind is to display faith that war will come to an end.
To be kind is to care for others with the equal care you have for yourself.
Kindness is the only weapon that will eliminate the idea of having enemies forever.