November 5

From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,,” when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:13-14

We intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. 2 Corinthians 8:21

Kindness? Isn’t that kind of basic? We learned this one in Kindergarten… isn’t it time we moved on to something bigger? Well yes, kindness is a pretty elementary subject, but I think kindness is just about one the most powerful forces for good in the world. Greater, maybe even than love, because kindness is love in action. Love is inert without kindness to bring it to life. Without love there is no kindness, and without kindness, there is no love.

Everything we do creates the world in which we have to live. The world in which our loved ones live, the world in which our children will have to live. We never know how much, and we never know how far our actions will reach, but every single thing we do, every single action we take, changes the world; changes the course of history. Every day.

How about being kind to your enemy because you want to live in a world where people are kind to their enemies? How about being kind to people because you want to live in a world where you don’t have any enemies? Hating people is hard work and little spots of meanness in our hearts tend to spread. Now there’s a fine line between loving your enemy and laying down so that they can walk all over you. So don’t be a doormat.

But what if we tried putting blinders on. Blinders are little leather flaps that are placed near a horse’s eyes that keep the horse from being distracted by the things next to or behind her. Now “living with blinders on” is a metaphor some people use to describe a state of ignorance or foolishness, basically, to remain oblivious by ignoring important facts. That’s not what I mean. Just to put them on sometimes when you need help moving forward. Put them up to keep from looking back at the ways the person has wronged you. Put them up to keep from thinking of all the ways that person is harming you right now. That doesn’t mean ignore the bad things about the person. It doesn’t mean ignore potential dangers. It just means that sometimes a person or a relationship is so difficult, or a history you have with somebody so ugly, that your only option is to keep your eyes in front, focusing on how you can have a kind relationship of at least mutual respect from here on out. It might not work. Your enemy might never stop finding new ways to make your world less pleasant. But I think that if you’re that focused on being kind, that relentless in your pursuit of positivity, you might be able to push the meanness to the periphery, keep yourself warm in the kindness of the bubble you’ve created, even if your enemy chooses to remain out in the cold. I don’t know if it’s always possible, but I do know that all we can do is try.

Greed, injustice, and violence are all around me. I regret treating others carelessly. Help me to do what is right in your sight. Your loving kindness, God, gives me hope and energy to live kindly, act humbly, and walk closely with you. Guide me from intention to action as you help me love others. Amen.

Peace,

Susan Hanson