Sunday, January 20, 2013


Lots of people are nice, but few are truly kind. Nice is fine, and the world needs nice, but it needs kindness more. Kindness goes out of its way to help (unlike its nasty cousin meanness, which goes out of its way to hurt) and wants nothing in return. The world has plenty of mean-spirited souls, but kind-hearted souls are harder to find.

Now here’s an issue I’ve debated with myself for years. How do you distinguish between those actions that define a person as bad versus those actions that are bad but perpetuated by a good person?

Because people are complex, and most of us aren’t one way all the time. So your cold-blooded witch of a boss might be so and so’s most-favorite Auntie, who knows? But I’ve never been satisfied with the notion that at her core a person is neither good nor bad, and I’ve certainly never been satisfied with the idea that at her core she is "basically" good. That philosophy doesn’t square with my worldview.

Either way, I suppose the world would benefit from more kind acts bestowed by whomever for whatever purpose. And it’s a comfort to know that whatever our motives, God is in control. As Joseph told his brothers “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result” (Genesis 50:20).  

Even so, I covet kindness. Kindness is good motive with a good result, and it represents the very best of who we are. Kindness makes the world a more tolerable place, and that’s saying something.

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