Sunday, September 20, 2009

love is kind

1 Corinthians 13:4
…Love is kind…

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I don’t accept charity.” Charity has been misinterpreted to mean, “hand outs” or “welfare”; something negative to those with strong wills and good work ethics, but the truth is, charity and kindness are basically the same word.

Accepting charity is not a sign of weakness as some may think, but a realization that we can’t solve every problem in our lives without some help. One of the biggest problems I’ve always had involves asking for help, especially from relatives. When my wife and I moved to Maine, we didn’t even tell them we were going for fear of them either begging us not to go, or worse, wanting to help. After four years of living in a one room hotel room my dad came for a visit and gave us the money to get into an apartment.

The best part of this is that I didn’t even realize that I needed the help, but he knew better. True kindness is not always about what we want; it’s about making sure we have what we need. Kindness is about putting the needs of someone else first, and if you’re trying to help someone who is as stubborn as I am, you may need to drag them, kicking and screaming. I will always appreciate what my father, and his wife, for what they did, even though I didn’t ask for it.

In a relationship, kindness is not only necessary, but it also goes two directions. There is an old Ecuadoran saying, “When one is helping another, both gain in strength.” I’m not saying that you should act kind to get something in return; that is not an act of kindness. Kindness will yield its own rewards, such as acceptance, and the satisfaction of seeing a smile on the face of the ones you love. The greatest reward of kindness, as the saying suggests, it opens you up to the strength that comes from helping others.

Whether you’re the one providing the kindness, or the one receiving it, an act of kindness is the greatest way to express love in any relationship.

Something to think about: There are more than 1 million children, 3.5 million people in all, who have no home. These people count on the kindness of others for their daily meals, in shelters and soup kitchens. Most of those who work in these places are just people who give some of their free time just to help those in need. There is no thought of compensation, except the look on the recipients face when they realize someone actually cares about them.


1 comment:

  1. A beautiful post, Allen.

    I once had to help a friend see that he was denying others joy when he wouldn't accept their assistance or gifts. I first asked him if he enjoyed helping others. He said he did. It was then easier for me to get him to see that others enjoyed helping him as well.

    This old world needs more kindness.

    Thank you for reminding us.