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The famous preacher, Charles Swindoll once said, "Kindness is a language that deaf people can hear and that blind people can see."
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
Story of Encouragement:
Several months ago when I was seated on the bus at the terminal and going home from work, a woman showed a kindness that up to now I cannot forget.
The bus was still not full. I sat on the third row, by the window, on the driver’s side. It was nearly six p.m. but the driver showed no intention of getting the bus on the road.
I saw a middle-aged woman take a seat at the opposite side. She was crying. Without directly talking to anyone, she continued to cry and tell her story.
She came to the city to visit her daughter and was going back home to the province. On her way to the bus terminal, one of her bags were snatched and stolen from her.
She weepingly narrated that the bag had half of the money she brought with her. The other half was rolled in a hankie and hidden under her blouse so she still had some money left.
The bus conductor, driver and the other passengers all listened to her tale and tried to sympathize with her. Finally, after a few minutes, she stopped and took out some cheese bread from her bag and began to eat. Then I saw an old man in tattered clothes get on the bus and take the seat directly in front of the crying woman.
A few more minutes and all the seats were already taken and the driver got behind the wheel and got ready to move. The bus conductor took out tickets and began asking us where we’re getting off.
When he got to the old man, he got suspicious and asked if the old man had any money with him. The old man said no, but he knew where he was getting off. He said he spent all his money that morning when he accidentally got off the wrong bus.
Upon hearing this, the bus conductor told the old man that he couldn’t possibly ride the bus and ordered him to get off. The old man wouldn’t budge. He was near to crying and he begged the bus conductor to let him take that ride so he could go home. The driver heard what was happening and approached the old man and he, too, told the old man to get off.
The woman was listening and observing what was transpiring. When the bus driver and conductor started to raise their voices at the old man, she interfered. She said, "Stop harrassing him. Can’t you see he’s just trying to go home?"
"He doesn’t have money!" the driver told her in a loud voice.
"Well, that’s not reason enough!" she insisted. "Where will he get off and how much is his fare?"
The bus conductor mumbled the fare.
"Fine," said the woman and she reached between her blouse and took out her only remaining money. She gave it to the bus conductor. "Here’s his fare and mine. I’ll pay for him. It’s only money. Just stop giving him a hard time. Can’t you see he’s old and weak?"
That made all heads turn to the woman. Minutes before, we were watching her cry over the money she lost and now she was paying for the old man’s fare with what’s left of her money. Everyone, including me, felt humbled by the woman’s kindness and unselfishness.
Finally, the bus left the terminal. Not contented to pay for the old man’s fare, she gave him some of her food and a 50-peso bill. She smiled the rest of the trip.
© 2000 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Bailey in his book "A View From a Hearse" tells of the day his boy died of cancer. He had returned to the clinic to thank them for their kindness and care of his son. As he spoke to the receptionist, she motioned toward a woman whose son was playing quietly with toys in the waiting area. "He has the same cancer your son had" she said. "Why donít you go over and see if you can talk with her."
Bailey went reluctantly over to sit next to her and they whispered just out of hearing of the boy. "It must be hard bringing him in for the treatments," he said, more a statement than a question.
"Hard," she turned with anguish in her eyes. "I die everytime I have to bring him in. What makes it worse is that I know itís not going to stop the cancer and that heís going to die."
Uncomfortable, Bailey ventured: "Still it is some comfort to know that when that happens there is no more pain and suffering, and that they go to a better place."
"No," hardness in her voice. "When he dies Iím just going to bury him in the cemetery and Iíll never see him again."
Bailey wanted to leave. It was uncomfortable to be reminded of his loss and even more uncomfortable to speak with this woman who obviously had not hope in any way. Then he spoke quietly, "I buried my boy just yesterday, and Iíve only come today to thank the doctors and nurses for their kindness. I know what youíre feeling but I also know that there is a better life for my son now."
"How could you believe such a thing," she challenged.
And then Joe Bailey told her about Jesus.
The hymn writer tells us "I know not why Godís wondrous grace to me he has made known. Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love, redeemed me for His own....
But I know whom I have believed...."
1 John 4:16-4:16
1 Corinthians 16:14-16:14
1 Thessalonians 16:14-16:14
Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long-suffering is love enduring. Kindness is loveís touch. Goodness is loveís character. Faithfulness is loveís habit. Gentleness is loveís self-forgetfulne...
A woman was in the process of suing her husband for divorce. She told the judge that she had done her best to get her husband to change his ways, but that he just wouldnít do it. Referring to Paulís words about being nice to your enemies, which is found in the 12th chapter of Romans the judge asked the woman if she had tried to "heap coals of fire on his head." The Woman answered, "No, but I donít think it will work, Iíve already tried scalding water, and that certainly didnít do any good." In contrast the following story is a good example of the way kindness breeds kindness: "An old man named Bill was hired to sweep streets in a small town in the South. Once a week the street sweeper came by with his brush. Bill was a friendly old fellow and Miss Gidding got into the habit of taking him a glass of lemonade and a slice of cake, during the summer. He always made a point to thank her, but said nothing more. But then one evening she heard a knock at her door. When she went to the door, Bill was standing there with a sack of peaches in one hand, and several ears of sweet corn in the other. He seemed embarrassed as he said, "I brought you these, Maíam, because you have been so nice to me." Miss Gidding replied, "Oh you shouldnít have bothered, it was nothing." Then the street sweeper replied, "Well, itís more than anyone else did for me." If we want people to be kind to us, we must be kind to them.
In 1973, four hostages were taken in a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of their captivity, six days later, they actively resisted rescue. They refused to testify against their captors, raised money for their legal defense, and one of the female hostages later became engaged to one of her now jailed captors.
The Stockholm syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape, is isolated and threatened with death, but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor.
Obviously, this twisted state of the psyche got its name from later studies of these events that transpired in Stockholm. But the same syndrome has since been seen in other situations in life. It is seen in battered wives, survivors of the Holocaust (not many of them left), and like situations.
It basically boils down to this. The victim feels helpless and has lost hope for relief from a situation; gropes for and clings tenaciously to any little perceived goodness or benefit coming even from the person or situation causing the problem, and eventually begins to sense a false love and dedication to the very person or circumstance they’ve been imprisoned to.
ILL. Listen to this true story. Rabbi Michael Weisser lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. And for more than 3 years, Larry Trapp, a self-proclaimed Nazi & Ku Klux Klansman, directed a torrent of hate-filled mailings & phone calls toward him.
Trapp promoted white supremacy, anti-Semitism, & other messages of prejudice, declaring his apartment the KKK state headquarters & himself the grand dragon. His whole purpose in life seemed to be to spew out hate-ridden racial slurs & obscene remarks against Weisser & all those like him.
At first, the Weissers were so afraid they locked their doors & worried themselves almost sick over the safety of their family. But one day Rabbi Weisser found out that Trapp was a 42-year-old clinically blind, double amputee. And he became convinced that Trappís own physical helplessness was a source of the bitterness he expressed.
So Rabbi Weisser decided to do the unexpected. He left a message on Trappís answering machine, telling him of another side of lifeÖa life free of hatred & racism.
Rabbi Weisser said, "I probably called 10 times & left messages before he finally picked up the phone & asked me why I was harassing him. I said that Iíd like to help him. I offered him a ride to the grocery store or to the mall."
Trapp was stunned. Disarmed by the kindness & courtesy, he started thinking. He later admitted, through tears, that he heard in the rabbiís voice, "something I hadnít experienced in years. It was love."
Slowly the bitter man began to soften. One night he called the Weissers & said he wanted out, but didnít know how. They grabbed a bucket of fried chicken & took him dinner. Before long they made a trade: in return for their love he gave them his swastika rings, hate tracts, & Klan robes.
That same day Trapp gave up his Ku Klux Klan recruiting job & dumped the rest of his propaganda in the trash. "They showed me so much love that I couldnít help but love them back," he finally confessed.
Folks, if that could happen in Lincoln, Nebraska, what could happen here in our community, in our neighborhoods, if we truly began to live lives that showed the love of Jesus to those around us?
ďA little lame boy was once hurrying to catch a train. In the press of the crowd he experienced real difficulty in manipulating his crutches, especially as he was carrying a basket full of fruit and candy. As the passengers rushed along, one hit the basket by mistake, knocking oranges, apples, and candy bars in all directions. The man who caused the accident paused only long enough to scold the cripple for getting in his way. Another gentleman, seeing the boyíí distress, went to his aid. Quickly he picked up the fruit and added a silver dollar to the collection, saying, ĎIím sorry, Sonny! I hope this makes up a little!íĒ With a smile he was on his way. The young boy who had seldom been the recipient of such kindness called after the Ďgood Samaritaní ...
The following quotes from people at various stages of their lives shows the maturity that should take place in our perspective toward God and the world around us.
PROGRESSION OF WISDOM WITH AGE
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. Age 7
I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night." Age 7
When I wave at people in the country, they stop what they’re doing and wave back. Age 9
When I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. Age 13
Though it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents were strict with me. Age 15
Silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24
Brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Age 29
Wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there. Age 29
If someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39
I’ve learned you can make someone’s day simply by sending them a little card. Age 44
Children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 46
The greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others. Age 46
Singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49
Motel mattresses lie better on the side away from the phone. Age 50
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles three things: 1) A rainy day 2) Lost luggage 3) Tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52
Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them after they’re gone. Age 53
I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58
If you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage. Age 61
Life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62
You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64
If you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if yo ufocus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65
Whenever I decide something with kindness, I have usually made the right decision. Age 66
It pays to believe in miracles. And, to tell the truth, I’ve seen several. Age 73
Even when I have pains, I don’t have to BE one. Age 82
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92
“…wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong – only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him … Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 49.